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^•^ RECEIVED </ 

FEB 4^0 1900 




The Chinese as I have 
seen them. ^ By Mrs. 
Archibald Little, Author 

of ^ 3VIarriage in China 

^^m>^J^^^ ^-^^O^^^ ^^^L2-^^ 
-^With 1 20 Illustrations^ 


Philadelphia: J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPY 








By tranat©' 

ulC 6 19»5 

^ 7?/ 





Arriving in Shanghai.— My First Tea-season.— Inside a Chinese City.— 

Shanghai Gardens.— In the Romantic East at last ! . . • • i 



Boat-travel. — Vegetation. — Trackers. — Terrace of the Sun. — Gold 
Diamond Mountain.— Meng Liang's Ladder.— Great Szechuan Road. 
—Steamer Voyage.— Chinese Hades.— Caves 3i 



Large Farmsteads.— Wedding Party.— Atoning for an Insult— Rowdy 
Lichuan.— Old-fashioned Inn.— Dogs Triumphal Progress.— Free 
Fight.— Wicked Music— Poppy-fields.— Bamboo Stream . . 5^ 



Arrangement of a Chinese House.— Crowd in Streets.— My First Walk 
in Chungking City.— Presents.— Cats, Rats, and Eggs.— Paying a 
Call.— Ladies Affectionate.— Shocked at European Indecency.— 
Cost of Freight.— Distance by Post.— Children's Pleasures.— Pre- 
cautions during Drought.— Guild Gardens.— Pretty Environs.— 
Opium Flowers, and Smokers.— Babble of Schools.— Chinese 
Girl-child 74 





Sulphur Bath. — Rowdy Behaviour. — Fight in Boat. — Imprisonment for 
letting to Foreigners. — Book-keeper in Foreign Employ beaten. — 
Customs Regulations. — Kimberley Legacy. — Happy Consul. — Un- 
just Z/y^/« Charges. — Foreigners massacred. — Official Responsibility 98 


Taels. — Dollars. — Exchange. — Silver Shoes. — Foreign Mints . . .120 



Not a Mark of Rank. — Golden Lilies. — Hinds' Feet. — Bandages drawn 
tighter. — Breaking the Bones. — A Cleft in which to hide Half a 
Crown. — Mothers sleep with Sticks beside them. — How many 
die. — How many have all their Toes. — Feet drop off. — Pain 
till Death. — Typical Cases. — Eczema, Ulceration, Mortification. — 
General Health affected . . . 134 



Church Mission's Action.— American Mission's Action. — T'ien Tsu Hui. — 
Chinese Ladies' Drawing-room Meeting. — Suifu Appeal. — Kang, 
the Modern Sage. — Duke Kung. — Appeal to the Chinese People . 145 


THC ''position of WOMEN- 

Official Honours to Women. — Modesty. — Conjugal Relations. — Business 

Knowledge. — Opium-smoking. — Typical Women . . .164 



Missing Bride. — Wedding Kcception. — Proxy Marriage. — Servants' 
Weddings. — Love for Wives. — Killing a Husband. — Wifely Affec- 
tion. — Chinese Babies. — Securing a Funeral . . . . .184 


-^ Contents 




How Chinese look upon Shanghai. — A Viceroy's Expedient. — Method of 
raising Subscriptions. — Deserving Deities. — Trustworthiness. — 
Hunan Hero. — Marrying English Girls 197 



Fung shui. — Dev^astating Eggs. — Demon Possession. — Sacred Trees. — 
Heavenly Silk. — Ladder of Swords. — Preserving only Children. 
— God of Literature on Ghosts. — God of War. — Reverence for 
Ancestors . .211 



European Prejudice. — French Fathers. — Italian Sisters. — Prize-giving, 

— Anti-Christian Tracts. — Chinese Saints and Martyrs . . . 230 



Buying Curios. — Being stoned. — Chinese New Year. — Robbers. — Pro- 
testing Innocence. — Doing Penance. — Medicines .... 253 



Tiger Soldiers.- — Woosung Drill. — General's Gallantry. — Japanese War. 

— Admiral Ting. — Dominoes with a Sentry. — Viceroy's Review . 269 



Number of Degrees. — Aged Bachelors. — Up for Examination. — Neces- 
sary Qualifications. — Crowding. — Scarcity of Posts. — Chinese Dress 292 



s <«- 

A father's advice to his son. 


Tseng Kuo Fan. — "Neither envious nor fawning." — Repose of Manner. 
— Cultivation of Land. — Early Rising, Diligence in Business, and 
Perseverance. — Dignity. — Family Worship — Reading . 317 



Monastery near Ichang. — For the Dead. — Near Ningpo. — Buddhist 
Service. — T'ien Dong. — Omi Temples. — Sai King Shan. — Monas- 
tery of the Particoloured Cliff ....... 327 



Crowd. — Nuns. — Final Shaving. — Woven Paces. — Burning Heads. — 

Relationships. — A Living Picture 350 



Luncheon with a Chief Priest. — Tigers. — Mysterious Lights. — The View 

of a Lifetime. — Pilgrims. — Glory of Buddha. — Unburied Priests , 362 



In Memory of a Dead Wife. — Of a Dear Friend. — Farewell Verses. — 

-iFsthetic Feeling. — Drinking Song. — Music. — Justice to Rats . . 383 



Drying Prayerbooks Mountain. — Boys' Paradise. — Lolo Women. — Salt- 
carriers. — Great Rains. — Brick-tea Carriers. — Suspension Bridge. — 
Granite Mountains. — Tibetan Bridge. — Lamas. — Tibetan Women. — . 
Caravanserai at Tachienln. — Beautiful Young Men. — Lamascrai. — 
Prayers ? — Fierce Dogs. — Dress. —Trying for a Boat . . 396 


^ Contents 




Porcelain. —Bronzes. — Silver-work. — Pictures. — Architecture. — Tea. — 

Silk. — White Wax. — Grass-cloth. — Ivory Fans. — Embroidery . .425 



Enjoyment. — Anticipation. — Regret 446 




House-boat on the Peiho. — Tientsin. — Chefoo. — APeking Cart. — Camels. 

— British Embassy. — Walking on the Walls.— Beautiful Perspectives 457 


Tibetan Buddhism. — Yellow Temple. — Confucian Temple. — Hall of the 
Classics. — Disgraceful Behaviour. — Observatory. — Roman Catholic 
Cathedral. — Street Sights.— British Embassy. — Bribes. — Shams, — 
Saviour of Society. — Sir Robert Hart 473 



The Emperor at the Temple of Heaven. — Mongol Princes wTestling. — 
^Imperial Porcelain Manufactory. — Imperial Silk Manufactory. — 
Maids of Honour. — Spring Sacrifices. — Court of Feasting. — Hunting 
Preserves. — Strikes. — Rowdies. — Young Men to be prayed for . 493 






A Concubine no Empress. — Sudden Deaths. — Suspicions. — Prince Ch'iin. 
— Emperor's Education.— His Sadness. — His Features. — Foreign 
Ministers' Audience. — Another Audience. — Crowding of the Rabble. 
— Peking's Effect on Foreign Representatives 515 



Everybody guaranteed by Somebody Else. — Buying back Office. — 
Family Responsibilities. — Guilds. — All Employes Partners. — 
Antiquity of Chinese Reforms. — To each Province so many Posts. 
— Laotze's Protest against Unnecessary Laws. — Experiment in 
Socialism. — College of Censors. — Tribunal of History. — Ideal in 
Theory ............ 532 



Reform Club. — Chinese Ladies' Public Dinner. — High School for Girls. 
— Chinese Lady Doctors insisting on Religious Liberty. — Reformers' 
Dinner. — The Emperor at the Head of the Reform Party. — Revising 
Examination Papers. — Unaware of Coming Danger. — Russian 
Minister's Reported Advice ........ 549 


THE COUP d'etat. 

Kang Yii-vvei. — China Mail's Interview. — Beheading of Reformers. — 
Relatives sentenced to Death. — Kang's Indictment of Empress. — 
Empress's Reprisals. — Emperor's Attempt at Escape. — Cantonese 
Gratitude to Great Britain. — List of Emperors Attempted Reforms. 
— Men now in Power. — Lord Salisbury's Policy in China . . 570 


The Way in ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Frontispiece 

Shanghai from the River ... ... ... ... ... ... ... i 

Shanghai Creek, with Drawbridge ... ... ... ... ... ... 3 

Tea-garden in Shanghai Chinese City ... ... ... ... ... 7 

Porters waiting for Work ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 11 

The Bubbling Well 15 

Soochow Creek, Shanghai ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Guild Garden at Kiangpei 22 

Pavilion in Country Gentleman's Garden ... ... ... ... ... 25 

Street Scene ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 29 

Wheelbarrow ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 30 

Bow of Travelling-boat ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 32 

Entrance to Yangtse Gorges 33 

Trackers ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 36 

Poling a Boat up a Rapid ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 43 

In the Niukan Gorge ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48 

White Emperor's Temple, looking down the Gorge of the Fearsome 

Pool, or Bellows Gorge ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 49 

New and Glorious Rapid ... ... ... ... ... 53 

Tree moved 100 Yards by Landslip that formed New Rapid ... ... 54 

Iron Cover of Bottomless Well ... ... ... ... ... ... 55 

At Fengtu 56 

Free School ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 67 

Poppies and Terraced Rice-fields ... ... ... ... 71 

Chungking, Commercial Capital of Western China ... ... ... 75 

Dinner Party in the Garden of a Member of the Hanlin College, — White 

Cloth spread in Compliment to Europeans ... ... ... ... 78 

Morning Toilette ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 80 

Outside Governor's Residence in Chungking ... ... ... ... 83 

Country House near Kiukiang ... ... ... ... ... ... 86 

A Chinese Country Club, or Guild Garden ... ... ... ... 94 

A Hot Day 95 


List of Illustrations 

Market Street outside City ... 

The Oldest Official in the Province of Szechuan 

Giving Evidence in a Court of Justice 

Chinese Mode of Salutation ... 

Chinese Roman Catholics of Many Generations 

Woman's Natural Foot, and another Woman's Feet bound to 6 Inches 

Woman's Natural Foot, and another Woman's Feet bound to 4^ Inches 

Chinese Roman Catholic Burial-ground 

Family of Literati, Leaders in the Anti-footbinding Movement in the 

West of China 
Bridge near Soochow ... 
Memorial Arch leading to Confucius' Grave 
A Country House Party 
Foot Shuttlecock 
Wedding Procession ... 
New Kvveichovv, built by Order 
Memorial Arch ... 
Shoes to mend ... 

Ichang from the City Wall, Hall of Literature, and Pyramid Hill 

The 564 Images of Hangchow 

Pavilion of the Moon in Grounds of God of War's Temple 
Missionary Group at our House-warming ... 
Soochow, with Mission Church 
Temple to God of War, Yiinyang 
Colossal Gilded Buddha 
Punch and Judy 
Stone Animals at General's Grave. A Peasant seated on one wi 

Straw Hat ... 
Entrance to Fairies' Temple, Chungking 
Play at a Dinner Party in a Guildhall 
Audience at a Play in a Guildhall 


Captain of Chinese Gunboat ... 

Soldier ... 

Soldier ... 

Gunboat Soldiers ... ... ... ... 

Soldiers ... 

Temple of God of Literature ... 

Map of China, showing Chief Examination Centres 

Outside Confucius' Grave 

Approach to Confucius' Grave 

Fortress of Refuge, Country House, and Memorial Arch ... 

Near Ningpo 

Salisburia adiantifolia 













List of Illustrations 

Entrance to Monastery 

Buddhist Images cut in Cliffs on the River Ya 

At Fengtu, Chinese Hades 

Begging Priest, once a General 

Jack (Long-haired Shantung Terrier) 

Sacred Tiger 

Great Precipice of Mount Omi 

Priest and Pilgrims on Edge of Omi Precipice 

Cloud Effects on Mount Omi 

Guard-house near the Arsenal 

Roof and Roof-end at Chungking 

Bridge at Hangchovv ... 

Bridge and Causeway on West Lake 

Sacred Sai King Mountain ... 

Brick-tea Carriers on the Great Brick-tea Road 

Caravanserai at Tachienlu 

In a Chungking Guild-house ... 

Packing Tea 

Chinese Hydraulic Apparatus 

Peking Pug (Short-haired) 

Peking Lion-dog (Long-haired) 

On a Mountain Road ... 

A Wheelbarrow Stand 

Interior of Governor's Official Residence at Hangchovv 

Farmer and Water Buffaloes ... 

Paper-burning Temples 

Approach to Ming Emperors' Tombs, Peking 

Tomb over Banjin Lama's Clothes, built after Tibetan Model of Marble. 
Bell-like Cupola and Upper Ornaments of Gold. Inscriptions 
Devanagari Character, Sanscrit, and Chinese ... 

Lotus Pond and Dagoba in Emperor's Garden 

Mountain Village, with Sham Beacon Fires to Left, Foochow Sedan- 
chair in Front 

Shan Ch'ing, Prince Ch'iin, and Li Hung-chang 

Late Viceroy Tso Tsung-tang 

Emperor Kwang-shii, 1875 

Prince Kung 

The Great W^all 

Incense-burner ... 

Country House in Yangtse Gorges ... 

Kiangsi Guild-house in Chungking 

Downward-bound Cargo-boat 

Bridge at Soochovv 

Mr. King, Manager of the Chinese Telegraph Company and Founder 
of High Schools for Girls 













List of Illustrations ^ 

Wen Ting-shih, the Reformer, Late Tutor to the Ladies of the Imperial 

Head Eunuch of the Empress-Dowager 
Kiaochou, seized by Germany 
Britisli and Chinese Flags, June 15th, 1898: Tow: 

Distance ... 
Ferry at Ichang 
Approach to Ming Emperor's Tomb, Nanking 

n of VVei-hai-wei in 







The Chinese Empire is rather larger than Europe. 

Being on the eastern side of a great continent, it has the same 
extremes of climate as are to be found in the United States. 

Fruits, flowers, and crops vary in Hke manner. 

Peking is on about the same parallel as Madrid, Chungking as 
Cairo, Shanghai as Madeira, 

The population of China is over ... ... ... 385 millions. 

That of the British Isles in 1891 not quite ... ... 38 „ 

That of France in 1896 ... ... ... ... 38^ „ 

One alone of China's eighteen provinces, Kiangsu, 
has over 39I 

The Russian nation, already extending over one-sixth of the globe, 
while China only extends over a little more than one-twelfth, musters 
little over 129 millions, and thus has about one-third of the Chinese 
population, with about twice its territory to stretch itself in. 

There is no Poor Law in China. There are no Sundays. 

It is considered very unwomanly not to wear trousers, and very 
indelicate for a man not to have skirts to his coat ; consequently our 
European dress is reckoned by Chinese as indecorous. 

Chinese begin dinner with dessert or Russian sakouska, and finish 
with hot soup instead of hot coffee. 

Their cooks are second only to the French ; their serving-men 
surpass the Germans. 

Chinese love children ; are ready to work day and night for their 
masters ; and if occasion demand, to be beaten in their place, or even, 
if needs be, to die for them. 

In fine, although in all details unlike ourselves, a great race, with 
some magnificent qualities. 

7, Park Pl.^ce, St. James's, S.W. 




Arriving in Shanghai. — My First Tea-season. — 
Inside a Chinese City. — Shanghai Gardens. — In 
the Romantic East at last ! 

I. Arriving in Shanghai. 

IT was in the merry month of May, 1887, that I first 
landed in China ; but fi-om the first there was 
nothing merry about China. It felt bitterly cold, after 
passing, through the tropics ; and in Shanghai one 
shivered in a warm wrap, as the wind blew direct from 
the North Pole straight at one's chest, till one day 
it suddenly turned quite hot, and all clothes felt too 
heavy. Every one almost knows what Shanghai is 
like. It has been admirably described over and over 
again, with its rows of fine European houses fronting 

Intimate China ^ 

the river, the beautiful pubHc gardens and well-trodden 
grass-plats interposed between the two ; with its electric 
lights and its carriages, and great European stores, at 
which you can buy everything you could possibly want 
only a very little dearer than in London. There used 
to be nothing romantic or Eastern about it. Now, 
darkened by the smoke of over thirty factories, it is 
flooded by an ever-increasing Chinese population, who 
jostle with Europeans in the thoroughfare, till it seems as 
if the struggle between the two races would be settled 
in the streets of Shanghai, and the European get driven 
to the wall. For the Chinaman always goes a steady 
pace, and in his many garments, one upon the top of 
the other, presents a solid, impenetrable front to the 
hurrying European ; whilst the wheelbarrows on which 
his womankind are conveyed rush in and out amongst 
the carriages, colliding here and there with a coolie- 
drawn ricksha, and always threatening the toes of the 
foot-passenger. Too often there are no foot-pavements, 
and the whole motley crowd at its very varying paces 
is forced on to the muddy street. Ever and anon 
even now a closed sedan-chair, with some wealthy 
Chinaman from the adjacent Chinese city, threads its 
way in and out among the vehicles, noiseless and 
stealthy, a reminder of China's past glories. There 
are also now wholly Chinese streets in the foreign 
settlement, where all the shop-fronts are gorgeous with 
gilding and fine decorative Chinese characters, where 
all the shops have signs which hang j^erpendicularly 
across the street-way, instead of horizontal!)' over 


-^ Sights of Shanghai 

the shop-front as with us, and where Chinese shop- 
keepers sit inside, bare to the waist, in summer 
presenting a most unpleasing picture of too much 
flesh, and in winter masses of fur and satin. 

Shanghai has got a capital racecourse, and theatre, 
and cricket-ground — grounds for every kind ot sport, 
indeed. It has a firstrate club, and an ill-kept museum. 


Its sights are the bubbling well and the tea-garden 
in the China town, believed by globe-trotters, but 
erroneously, to be the original of the willow-pattern 
plate. Beside this, there is what is called the Stone 
Garden, full of picturesque bits. A great deal that is 
interesting is to be seen in the China town by those 
who can detach their minds from the dirt ; in one part 
all the houses have drawbridges leading to them. But 


Intimate China <^ 

even the Soochow Road in the foreign settlement has 
never yet been treated pictorially as it deserves. It is 
the Palais Royal of Chinese Shanghai. At the hour 
when carriage traffic may only pass one way because of 
the crowd, it would reward an Alma-Tadema to depict 
the Chinese dandies filling all its many balconies, pale 
and silken clad, craning their necks to see, and by 
the haughtiness of their gaze recalling the decadent 
Romans of the last days of the empire. Their silken 
garments, their arched mouths, the coldness of their icy 
stare, has not yet been duly depicted. Chun Ti Kinig, 
by the late Mr. Claude Rees, is so far the only attempt 
to describe their life. Yet they, too, have souls possibly 
worth the awakening. With their long nails, their 
musk-scented garments, their ivory opium-pipes, and 
delicate arrangements of colours, they cannot be without 
sensibilities. Do they feel that the Gaul is at the 
gates, and that the China of their childhood is passing 
away ? 

It is this China of their childhood, with here an 
anecdote and there a descriptive touch, which I hope 
to make the English reader see dimly as in a glass in 
the following pages, which are not stored with facts and 
columns of statistics. People who want more detailed 
information about China, I would refer to Sir John 
Davis's always pleasant pages ; or to my husband's 
Througk the Yangtse Gorges, containing the result of 
years of observation ; or to dear old Marco Polo's 
account of his travels in the thirteenth century, revivified 
by the painstaking labours of Colonel Yule, and thereby 


-^ Brown and Muddy 

made into one of the best books on China extant. For 
my part, I shall endeavour to make the reader see China 
and the Chinese as I have seen them in their homes 
and at their dinner parties, and living long, oh ! such 
long summer days among them, and yet wearier dark 
days of winter. And to make the reader the more 
feel himself amongst the scenes and sights I describe, 
I mean to adopt various styles, sometimes giving him 
the very words in which I at the time dashed off my 
impressions, all palpitating with the strangeness and 
incongruity of Chinese life, at others giving him the 
result of subsequent serious reflections. 

But here let me record my first great disappointment, 
because it may be that of many another. Brown mud 
is the first thing one sees of China. Brown mud accom- 
panies the traveller for miles along the Yangtse River, 
all along the Peiho, up to brown and muddy Tientsin, 
and on up to Peking itself. China generally is not at 
all like the willow-pattern plate. I do not know if I 
really had expected it to be blue and white ; but it was 
a disappointment to find it so very brown and muddy. 

II. My First Tea-season. 
It was dull and leaden all the six hundred miles 
up the great river Yangtse ; and at first it poured nearly 
all day and every day at Hankow, and we shivered 
over fires. Nevertheless, in spite of absolutely leaden 
skies and never a glimpse of sunshine, the coolies and 
the twenty-years-in-China-and-don't-speak-a-word-of- 
the-language men wore sun-hats, and pretended to get 


Intimate China ^ 

ill from the glare, when any one fresh from England 
would certainly say it was the damp. The floods were 
all the while advancing on what looked like a be- 
leaguered city, when we went out on the plain outside, 
and gazed back at the city wall, with its dark water- 
line clearly marked all round close to the top. 

The country round certainly did not tempt one to 
go out very often on to che rotten flag-stoned way by 
which one walked three or four miles in order to reach 
a one-mile distance as the crow flies, feeble-looking 
corn and marsh at either side, with an occasional 
tandem of buffaloes groaning not in unison with the 
discordant creaking of the cart they drew. Yet we 
plodded past the little homesteads, each planted on its 
own artificial hill, faced with stones on the side the 
floods come from. The very friendly people all used 
to come out of their cottages, and call out, " Do rest 
with us awhile," " Come in, do, and have some tea " ; 
but till I spoke a little more Chinese, I did not care 
to repeat this often : though I rather enjoyed the first 
time going in and having tea, delicious tea, brought 
us at once — next a pipe, and then a bowl of water. 
Nothing could be friendlier than the people ; and some- 
how or other I used to fancy from the first I held quite 
conversations with them. But what we either of us said 
to each other in words it is impossible to tell ; there is 
so much one understands without knowing the words. 
So on and on we used to plod, resisting all kindly 
pressure to turn in, till gradually the reflection of the 
setting sun gave a red glow to the water in the ruts, 


-^ Hankow City 

and frogs hopped in numbers across the path, and bats 
whirled after mosquitoes. Then at last by an effort 
we summoned up will enough to turn, and plod just 
exactly the same way over the selfsame stones back 
to Hankow, the beleaguered city, with its avenues of 
over-arching willows, and beautiful Bund half a mile 
long — a mile walk up and down, therefore, as every one 
takes care to tell you the first day you arrive, as if 
afraid lest, stricken by a sort of midsummer madness, 
you should actually leave the English settlement, with 
its willows and its villas, and attempt to penetrate into 
the Chinese town. 

The stories I heard about the Chinese town gave 
me quite a feeling of excitement the first time I went 
into it. People threatened me with horrible sights, 
and still more horrible smells. But I fancy those, 
who talk in this way, can know very little of the 
East End of London, and nothing of the South of 
France or Italian towns. Hankow certainly struck me 
as very fairly clean, considering how crowded its streets 
are, and the people at that time for the most part as 
wonderfully civil. I should not care to hear the shower 
of abuse, that would greet a foreigner in one of our 
English towns, who turned over and examined all the 
articles on a stall, then went away without buying any- 
thing, as English people do not hesitate to do there. 
The Kiangsi and Hunan Guild-houses are both well 
worth a visit, although the former has been In large 
measure burnt down, and thus stripped of those wonderful 
coloured tiles about which the few, who have seen them, 


Intimate China 

are still enthusiastic. Most people have never seen 
them at all. As it is now, the temple to the god of 
literature at Hanyang has more charms for me, with 
its many curved roofs making such an harmonious, 
rich, dark medley. However, of course in Hankow 
no one in the month of May is thinking about archi- 
tecture. " Thou art not science, but thou tea-chest 
art " is the riddle they were all engaged with, and 
they were very sad over it. For the tea was bad ; 
and thouoh the Chinamen had bound themselves under 
awful penalties to have no second crop, yet of course 
the second crop would be there soon. I looked sadly 
at the men from Hunan, sitting so truculently in their 
boats, with their pigtails twice coiled round their heads, 
counting over beforehand the gains they meant to take 
back home ; for probably there would be none. We 
talked tea at breakfast and tiffin and dinner, and we 
took it at five and considered its quality. But that 
would not make the people at home give up Indian 
tea, with all its tannin and nerve-poisoning qualities. 
So in between-whiles we counted up how many suicides 
there were last tea-season. F'or Chinese have a fine 
sense of honesty, if not of honour ; and merchants are 
apt to kill themselves, if they cannot meet their 
obligations. "There will be more suicides this year," 
said first one, then another. 

Meanwhile, the pretty painted boxes streamed past 
the house at the rate of eighty a minute sometimes — 
always noiselessly carried by coolies in huge sun-hats, 
and too often through the dripping rain. And the 

^ Tea-steamers 


great gamble went on, and the men who dropped 
in to call looked wearier and wearier. But that was 
all In 1887, which might almost be called the last year 
of the great China tea trade of which Hankow had 
since 1 86 1 been the centre. There was quite a fleet 
of ocean steamers there even that year to take the 
tea away; In 1898, barely one for London. English 
people will not drink China tea. It Is so delicate that, 
though in Itself Inexpensive, It comes dear from more 
leaf having to be used to produce the same strength 
of liquor. But it is soothing, whilst Indian tea puts a 
fresh strain upon our already overtaxed digestions. 

In old days the Hankow tea trade was a great 
business. Tea-tasters came out from England in 


Intimate China ^ 

crowds, arriving in May and going away in July. They 
would taste two hundred different teas, not swallowing 
the tea, but just savouring its flavour, and smelling it, 
and handling the leaf. Then the man who could not 
tell the same tea again when he went over the two 
hundred the second time was no tea-taster. They 
were pale men for the most part, of rather finely strung 
susceptibilities, or their palates would not have been 
so critical. And they did not care much for games 
of chance, they gambled so high in tea, a fortnight's 
business easily leading a man to win or lose ^20,000. 

Ah ! the good old days of China tea and silk are 
gone. Are there better days yet to come in the new 
China that is to take the place of old China, which 
is passing away even as we talk about it ? 

III. Inside a Chinese City. 

One of the most exciting moments of all my life 
in China was when I first found myself shut up within 
the walls and barred gates of Wuchang, the provincial 
capital of Hupeh, one of the rowdiest provinces of 
China. And of the three cities that meet together and 
almost join — Hankow and W^uchang being separated 
by the there three-quarter-mile wide Yangtse, and 
Hankow and Hanyang separated by the boat-covered 
Han — Wuchang has the reputation- of being the most 
rowdy. It is there, of course, the Provincial Examina- 
tions arc held ; and when men assemble in their 
thousands away from their families and friends, they are 
in all countries apt to be unruly. 

■^ Inside the Gates 

Probably, of all the hundreds of foreign tea-men 
who visited Hankow, barely one or two had been 
across the river to Wuchang. But a missionary, who 
was living alone there, and seemed to feel his loneli- 
ness, asked us to go over and spend the night with 
him ; and wnth many doubts as to what kind of accom- 
modation he could give us, and whether we should 
be inconveniencing him, we accepted. I have often 
been to Wuchang since then. But I remember still 
the thrill with which, when I went to bed that night, 
I stood at the window and listened to the strange, 
unfamiliar sounds from the street beyond the compound, 
or garden. There was the night-watchman crying the 
hours, and clacking his pieces of bamboo together to 
warn evil-doers to keep off But he did it in a way 
I had not yet heard. Then there were such curious 
long drawn-out street cries, all unknown, and sounds 
of people calling to one another, and the buzz of a 
great city. And I suddenly realised, with a choking 
sense of emotion, that the gates were shut, and I was 
within there with a whole cityful of Chinese so hostile 
to foreigners, and especially to foreign women, that it 
had not been thought safe to let me walk through 
them to the missionary's house. Even the curtain of 
my sedan-chair had been drawn down, so that I might 
not be seen by any one. 

Wuchang has always been specially Interesting 
to me, because it was my first Chinese city. And 
it is so characteristic a one. Every Chinese city 
is supposed to be placed on hills representing a 


Intimate China ^ 

serpent and a tortoise, although the likeness has often 
to be helped out by a temple on the tortoise's head, 
or a pagoda to connect the serpent's coils. But at 
Wuchang the serpent and tortoise are very plainly 
visible. Then all Chinese cities are apt to be rude. But 
the people at Wuchang are so particularly rude. How 
often have not the gentlemen accompanying me, when 
in subsequent years I have dared to walk through its 
streets, had to separate themselves from me, and to 
walk backwards, exhorting the oncoming crowd of 
roughs to propriety of behaviour ! Curiously enough, 
the roughest of Chinese roughs get red and un- 
comfortable, when you tell them you fear they have 
never learnt politeness, do not observe the rules of 
decorum, etc., etc. I learnt it as a patter simply 
from hearing it said in my own defence, and have 
often raised a blush since then by saying it myself. I 
doubt if the same results would be obtained by ever 
so eloquent a paraphrase of the fourth commandment 
down Whitechapel way. But Chinese, whether they 
follow them or not, seem all to have been taught to 
hold in respect the dicta of the ancients. To this 
day a quotation from Confucius will often settle a moot 
point in weighty affairs of State. Would that it were 
so among ourselves with a Christian text ! 

IV. SnANonAi Public Gardens. 

To those who have just arrived off a long sea 
voyage, as U) those who from time to time come 
down from some roadless, gasless, shopless, but smell-ful 



thp: bubbling well. 

-^ Shanghai Gardens 

up-country sojourn, there is one bit of Shanghai 
that is exceptionally refreshing and delightsome ; and 
that is the garden by the river. At night, when 
the lamps are lit and mirrored in the water in rows 
and garlands of light, when the sea-breeze blows in 
freshly, and friends gather in the gardens, I have 
even heard it asserted by its greatest detractors, 
'' Shanghai is as good as any other place by night." 

But it is in the mornings in winter, or in the before- 
dinner hours in summer, when the band plays, that 
you must go there, properly to know what the Shanghai 
Gardens are like. First and foremost, they are full of 
flowers — flowers with colours and scents. I do not 
know how many other people may be thus constituted, 
but there are occasions when I would as soon meet 
Keats' ''Belle Dame Sans Merci " ''alone and palely 
loitering " as wander through such unmitigated greenery 
as the Botanic Gardens at Singapore offer to the passing 
traveller, at least in the month of April. Kew Gardens 
are all too often depressing after the same fashion ; 
though there one can always fall back upon the green- 
houses to see 

" How great Nature truly joys in red and green, 
What sweet thoughts she thinks 
In violets and pinks 
And a thousand blushing hues made solely to be seen." 

Hongkong Gardens are very fair to see, resembling 
those of Babylon in being hanging gardens, gardens 
of terraces. But the way in which the Shanghai 
Gardens are fitted in between the Bund and the 

17 c 

Intimate China ^ 

Soochow Creek, with the much-traversed Garden 
Bridge giving something definite to look at, and the 
river girdling it all — the river with its ever-moving 
panorama of swift ocean steamers and perky little 


Steam-launches, and yachts and junks of deeply dyed 
sails, and brilliant coloured sanpans, all within a stone's- 
throw, — this situation makes the Shanghai Gardens a 
place not easily to be matched for passing away ^the 
after-sunshine hours. But flowers are the Shanghai 
Gardens' forte. They should be seen when they are 
idl abloom with roses ; or when lordly tulips dazzle the 
eye witli their scarlet and gold, till it is fain to seek 
relief among those blue and white fairies dancing in 


^ Lilium auratum 

the sunshine — sweet-scented hyacinths ; or when the 
chrysanthemums are in season. All these flowers are 
seen against a background of glossy-leaved magnolias, 
with their pale sweet-scented blossoms, and oleander- 
trees, and pomegranates and acacias, all in their dif- 
ferent seasons glorious with rose and scarlet or feathery 
pink and white blossoms. 

At one season there is a borderful, but full to 
overflowing, as those borders almost always are, of the 
Japanese Lilium auratum, a large, almost arrogant, white 
lily, with a broad band of gold down each petal. A 
little while before, people went to the far garden across 
the road to see the fly-devouring flower, and inhale 
its fetid breath as of dead men's — not bones, certainly 
— and all uncleanness. Next the water-lilies claimed 
their attention, and the poetic rosy lotus flowers, one 
of which grew so fast, and with such precision of 
rectitude, that its bud forced its way right through the 
overshadowing fleshy leaf, and there expanded into a 
beautiful blossom at its leisure. 

The rarely visited fernery at the end of this garden 
well deserves more frequent visits. There you will 
find that quaint Asplenium bulbifertcm, that drops ofl~ 
little plants, that happen to be growing about its leaves 
like little accidents, and eventually develop into big 
plants, that again do likewise. There are also fine 
specimens of the Australian Platyceriimi, which you do 
not wonder to find called grande, so solid and woolly- 
feeling are its great lumps of leaf That brown irre- 
gular mark underneath one of the abruptly broken-off 


Intimate China ^ 

leaves is not decay, but spores of seed. This, with the 
name of Alicorne, something like an inverted porcupine, 
reaching out all round hands, some with three fingers, 
some with six, sometimes with the fingers tipped under- 
neath with seed, sometimes not, is said to have arrived 
looking for all the world like a withered cabbage. Then 
it sprouted and burgeoned ; and now it is a thing of joy 
for ever, not to be in the least dwarfed or put into 
the shade by Australian tree-ferns of really treelike 
proportions growing close alongside. 

But the fernery has nothing of the charm for me 
possessed by the large conservatory. There, after so 
many years, I met once again the friends of my 

" The spirit culls 
Unfaded amaranth, when wild it strays 
Through the old garden ground of boyish days," 

And there, when first I saw it, were all the many 
varieties of fancy geraniums, so seldom seen in Eng- 
land now, together with heliotropes, and begonias, and 
rosellias, and cinerarias, all growing in loveliest con- 
fusion, though not as I remember them, weighing each 
other down with their prodigal luxuriance in a garden 
border, in far-away Madeira, but intermixed with 
Chinese rockwork and ferns, and generally massed so 
as to show themselves off to the greatest advantage. 
In August that house is full of velvety gloxinias of 
richest hues, and again mixed with waxen begonias. 
Outside the conservatory are two of those very quaint 


-^ An Apple-tree 

Singapore cup-sponges, serving as flower-pots of 
Nature's making. And near by, apparently the pride 
of the gardener, to judge by its lavish supply of netting, 
is an apple-tree, with many apples peeping from under- 
neath the netting, as yet quite green ! But for all their 
greenness, one has been carried off by the birds already. 
Hence the netting. 

But it is in the garden beside the river where the 
pleasantest sitting and sauntering is done. No one 
puts on best clothes to go there in the morning ; 
only people who like to go are to be met there — 
none from a sense of duty. There the nurses 
love to congregate whilst their children play together, 
and add much life and animation to the scene. The 
nurses introduce a Chinese element ; for otherwise 
Chinese, were it even Li Hung-chang himself, are ex- 
cluded from the gardens, as now from Australia, solely 
because they are Chinese. This never can seem quite 
right. The Japanese nurses add an additional element 
of picturesqueness, with their dark-coloured, clinging 
kimonos, and curious gait, as do also Parsee merchants 
with their high, hard hats. 

Yet sometimes I have regretted we do not have 
more of the flowers of China in Shanghai. What 
lovely bursts of blossom one sees at times in the in- 
terior of China ! One February I wrote from Chung- 
king : 

" Camellias of infinite variety are to be seen already. 
It is surprising to notice how many different kinds there 
are. Perhaps the loveliest is more like a blush-rose 

Intimate China ^ 

than a camellia — delicate coral pink, shading off into 
white round the edges of the somewhat crumpled petals. 
Since the Chinese seem now to devote no care to them, 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

nor at all to know how many varieties there are, it is 
puzzling to think how they arose." 

Whilst on March 21st ot another year, I wrote 
at the time : 

" The thermometer is now in the sixties. Our plum- 
trees done flowering ; orchids coming on victoriously ; 
tree-tulips and magnolias like big bouquets ; and camellias 
only slowly waning. Probably nowhere could camellias 


-^ Peony-camellia 

be seen In greater luxuriance than here, where there 
are endless varieties ; and a blossom of a peony-camellia, 
loose-petalled and very double, on being measured 
the other day, revealed a circumference of fifteen and 
a quarter inches. Great branches of judas-tree and 
pink peach blossom adorn our rooms, together with 
a bright-yellow flower that grows in great profusion, 
and that used to be called New Zealand flax. From 
all this you can fancy how hothouselike our atmosphere 
feels just now." 

Later in the summer the peonies are the great 
pride of the Chinese ; whilst the scarlet dragon-boat 
flower Is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all the 
Chinese flowers from being all scarlet together. But 
It Is useless to try to enumerate ; for the highest 
authority in Kew Gardens told me once that in no 
part of the world was there a more abundant and 
varied flora than in the Ichang Gorges, which are also 
the land of the butterfly. It is, however, a mistake, 
I believe, to think China Is called the flowery land 
from the number of Its flowers, the Chinese word 
translated " flowery " meaning also " varicoloured." 

V. In the Romantic East at Last! 

Mr. Tee San's garden Is one of the most fascinating 
spots In China, with the bright autumn sunshine 
glinting through the pretty bits of trellls-work on 
to Its fantastic rocks, and zigzag bridges, and pretty 
pavilions, and lighting up the truly exquisite specl- 


Intimate China ^ 

mens of chrysanthemums sometimes on show there. 
There is the spiky little chrysanthemum, the tiger's 
moustache, and huge maroon blossoms fading off into 
delicate cream in the centre, and many other uncommon 
varieties, each in its appropriate pot, spacious, four- 
square, and creamy, apparently just made to be painted, 
and each placed at exactly the right elevation by 
means of its light wooden stand, sometimes raising the 
pot an inch or two, sometimes about eight feet, and 
always so slanted, that the flowers are tilted down 
towards the spectator, thus showing themselves off in 
their entirety. But it is not so much worth while to go 
to this garden In order to see the chrysanthemum, as to 
admire the infinite variety of Chinese decoration crowded 
into what is really a very confined space, but which is 
made to appear a garden large enough to lose oneself 
in. Rows of bamboo stems of soft blue-green china 
relieve the monotony of the walls, with their open 
air-spaces in between, as do also various graceful 
interlaclngs of tiles. There are doors of all sorts and 
sizes, like a horseshoe, like a pentagon, like a leaf 
cut somewhat Irregularly down the middle by the leaf 
stem, and with outer edge fluted like a leaf There 
are, of course, artificial mounds made out of rockwork, 
and grottoes, and quaint lumps of stone, looking as 
if they had been masses of molten metal suddenly 
hardened in their grotesqueness ; also, as a matter of 
course, Inside the pavilions there are various specimens 
of that landscape stone — dear to the heart of the 
Chinaman, and said to come from Yunnan — framed 


-»> An Autumn Picture 

and hanging on the walls. There used to be also a 
magnificent peacock ; a mandarin duck, with its quaint, 
bright, decisive colouring ; golden pheasants ; a scarlet- 
faced monkey, and a pale-faced ; a little company of 
white geese, and another of white rabbits. But 
to enumerate the treasures of the garden gives no 
idea of the artistic skill with which it has been laid 
out ; so that every one who sits down in it even in 
the most commonplace manner, and even those most 
unpicturesque of human beings, Chinese men and 
women, immediately becomes an integral part of a 

There sit two Chinamen, with dark-purple silk outer 
jackets and long, glowing blue undergowns. They sit 
on each side of a litde square black table, with their 
long pipes ; behind them the sun slants across the 
latticed paper window, a branch of Virginia creeper, 
already yellow, pushing in through it. It needs not 
the addition of the cream-coloured pot with its 
chrysanthemums planted well to the front of it, as 
they all are, and on the usual slant. Without that bit 
of autumn colouring behind them, there is already an 
autumn picture, — men past their prime soothing the 
evening of their day in life with the pipe, all nature 
attuned with its vivid fast-fleeting sunshine and its 
orange-yellow leaves. In another pavilion sits one of 
those gorgeous creatures who always recall the braveries 
of Sir Walter Scott's descriptions, but who are hardly 
now to be seen out of China : his big loose jacket, 
•of brccaded golden satin, stiff and shimmering : his 


Intimate China ^ 

long gown, only less brilliant, of violet satin. A 
gnarled and knotted root served there as stand for a 
flower-pot, artificial streamlets meandering round the 
pavilion. In the pavement was a stork in white, all 
formed of little broken bits of tile. The lights and 
shades were so entrancing, it was difficult to think of 
ever doing anything in these picturesque retreats, 
which immediately suggest the Chinaman's ideal — 
elegant leisure — and furnish most pleasant places to 
sit and meditate, as one might say, but in reality 
probably idly to watch the sunlight glorify this tint 
and soften that. 

Without the sunshine it is a different affair. The 
patterns in the walls, in the fine pebble pavement, 
are still as complex, the triangles in the latter still as 
cunningly arranged, the doorways as surprising. There 
are still the same China drums of soft blue-green 
and green-blue for garden-seats, and great egg-green 
vessels for rain-water, as they say ** very clear." But 
it all looks like a theatrical stage by daylight. Even 
the row of changeable roses by the water, which is really 
not so clear as it might be, looks uncomfortably pink 
beneath a grey rain-sky. Only the hoarfrost-resisting 
flower, as the Chinese call the chrysanthemum, is 
undimmed, the Chinamen's coats as gay. Whilst 
Chinese ladies totter as gracefully — or ungracefully — as 
before, with highly painted cheeks, gay garments, long 
elaborate earrings, beringed and bebraceleted with soft 
pure gold unalloyed. 

W^hen we were last there, a dainty-looking Chinese 


-^ Local Colour 

dinner was laid out in one of the pavilions ; and before 
the guests sat down, girls arrived to make merry 
with music. For studying Chinese manners and 
customs, there could hardly be a more convenient 


place. Every one seemed very smart and very friendlily 
disposed towards the foreigner. Those who care for 
local colour can find it in this garden quite as well as 
in the China town ; and, after all, when one can find 
local colour without local odours, it is a thing to make 
note of in China. It is true to get there one must 
not only drive down the Fukien Road, with its quaint 
dyers' drying-sheds high up against the sky, their 
blue draperies streaming from them picturesquely, then 


Intimate China ^ 

across that very fascinating bridge choked underneath 
with highly polished boats, piled with all manner of 
merchandise, but also, alas ! through a local Covent 
Garden, full of colour enough, like its prototype in 
London, but, like that, not smell-less. Once arrived, 
however, a bewildering sense comes over one of having 
left prosaic Shanghai very far away, and of having at 
last arrived at a bit o^ the romantic East ! 





Boat-travel. — Vegetation. — Trackers. — Terrace of 
the Sun. — Gold Diamond Mountain. — Meng Liang's 
Ladder. — Great Szechuan Road. — Steamer Voyage. 
— Chinese Hades. — Caves. 

OF all ways of travel, surely boat-travel is the most 
luxurious. For one thing, it is accounted 
roughing it ; and that means that there is no bother 
about toilets : the easiest boots and gloves, the warmest 
and most comfortable of clothes, are the appropriate 
wear. But that seems to be the whole of the roughing of 
it. For naturally each boat-traveller takes care to start 
with a favourite chair and a comfortable bed ; and it 
is his cook's business to provide the most recherchd of 
little repasts whenever wanted. What else is he there 
for ? Nor do sottfflds and pheasants taste any the worse 
because the supply of fresh air is unlimited, and the 
cabin as cosy as nothing but a perfectly well-built house, 
or a boat floating in water warmer than the surrounding 
air, can be. The first time we went up to Chungking, 
we had a sleeping-cabin and sitting-cabin, each 9 ft. 4 in. 
by 7 ft. 7 in., the former well warmed by a most con- 
veniently arranged kitchen adjoining, with a plentiful 


Intimate China 

By Mrs. Archibald Utile. 

supply of warm water for our travelling-bath. Thus 
our only drawback was that the wind was always 
favourable ; and whereas our captain had been bound 
over to pay us six shillings a day for every day over the 
agreed-upon twenty-two between Ichang and Chung- 
king, we were equally bound to pay him six shillings 
a day extra for every day under. 

My first trip up the Gorges was, however, very 
different. To give its impressions in their freshness, I 
will quote from a letter written at the time : 

''June 2oth, 1887. 

" It depends, I suppose, a good deal upon how much 
people like or dislike the journey, whether it is worth 
while to come half round the world, and then steam a 


-^ Grand Precipices 

thousand nautical miles into the interior of China, in 
order to visit the Gorges of the Yangtse ; but we have 
just returned from a five-days' trip, and what I have 
seen far surpasses my anticipations. Indeed, in all my 
travels, I know no country more altogether delightful. 
Although it is June, one of the worst seasons for going 
there, we have been able to walk about all day long, 
and without getting tired too. The air felt fresh, and, 
oh ! so fragrant with delicious flowers. The feature of 
the region, of course, is the precipices. I should guess 
the precipices at nothing under two thousand feet, and 
perhaps not more than that sheer down, as far as I 
have seen : sometimes dolomitic white limestone, which 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 


Intimate China ^ 

always reminds me of dead men's bones, sometimes 
weathered a rich yellow-brown. The grandeur and 
massiveness of the bastions, and towers of rock, and 
overhanging pinnacles, and projecting Isolated blocks, 
or pillars, standing bolt upright In fine relief against 
the sky, are not picturesque like the scenery round 
Meran, not exciting like some of the Alpine scenery 
in Switzerland, but awe-inspiring and sublime. 

'' Then the vegetation Is enchanting. Nearly every 
flower, great big glorious butterfly, and brilliantly 
coloured bird Is unknown to me ; and till people have 
walked through a country where this Is the case, they 
cannot imagine what a zest It adds to an expedition. But 
just to tell of those I recognise will show how charming 
it Is. Fancy bamboos in feathery tufts, and palms, 
everywhere, not tall, but very graceful ; chestnut-trees 
in full flower ; plums laden with the rosiest fruit — but 
very bitter we found them ; walnut-trees with huge 
leaves and nuts ; orange-trees ; most beautiful, perhaps, 
of all, the tallow-tree, rather like the lilac in leaf, but 
each leaf set on a very long stalk, so that the slightest 
breath sets It quivering, a light bright green In colour, 
each shoot tipped at the end with almost scarlet young 
leaves, and the whole tree, a tall well-grown tree too, 
covered with yellowish tassel-like flowers. Most lovely 
is the general effect. And in the autumn, they tell 
mc, it Is even finer, taking the same brilliant tints as 
the maple In Canada. I never know if I like this tree 
or the soap-tree best. The latter is like an oak in 
general effect, but more graceful, and grows quite big. 


^ Butterflies and Goats 

But I am keeping the best to the last. Fancy blue 
larkspurs, and yellow jasmine, and glorious coloured 
oleanders, and begonias, virgin lilies, and yet taller 
white lilies, and gardenias, and sunflowers, all growing 
wild, and most luxuriantly. I was quite excited when 
I first saw waxen-leaved begonias cuddling into the 
crevices of a rock by the wayside ; and exclaimed 
aloud when a turn of the path revealed a whole bank 
of dwarf sunflowers, golden in the sun. These, too, 
are only the flowers I can name. There are numbers 
more, and so fragrant ! And among them all enormous 
swallow-tailed butterflies, and a very pretty breed ot 
white goats, with dear little kids, disport themselves. 
Grand though the Gorges are, one does not feel 
saddened or depressed by them, as I was afraid of being. 
It is like seeing a whole troop of graceful loving 
grandchildren climbing up some grand old man's knee. 
" But the Yangtse certainly does appear a very 
wicked river, bristling with rocks and whirlpools, just as 
its shores bristle with precipices. We had a very light 
boat, and an absurdly large crew — eight men besides 
the head man. And with all their exertions, they 
could only get us up against the rushing, whirling 
current at the rate of a mile an hour. But the river 
ran so fast, and the men worked so hard, and the 
shores were so varied, ever opening out some new, 
narrow defile, down which a torrent had cut its way — • 
always cut quite deep — that one had no sense at all 
of going slowly, but just the contrary. The men had 
long bamboos with hooks at the end, and with these 


Intimate China '^ 

they would hook on to the rocks, and claw us up 
against the current ; for we always kept quite close to 
the side, so as, as far as possible, to keep out of the 
rush of the river, and profit by occasional eddies. Then 
at other times they would bound on to the shore, 

By Mrs. Archibald Utile. 

scampering and giving tongue like a pack of beagles 
let loose, and tow the boat along, occasionally bending 
almost double in their efforts. 

'* I thought at first I would walk along the path with 
the trackers. Oh the foolish English idea ! At times 
the trackers bounded along over loose boulders, or over 
ledges of rock, where the limestone strata made a fairly 


-^ Breaking a Tow-line 

smooth surface ; but at others they, with their bare feet 
and hands well used, had all they could do to find 
a footing. During these inauvais pas, or when they 
were ferried across in a boat, or waded through the 
river, those left on board would claw the rocks, or work 
the yuloks, very long and rather unmanageable oars. 
The oddest thing was the intense delight the men 
seemed to take in their work. But, of course, tracking 
our light boat was a very different thing from dragging 
a heavily laden junk. Hundreds of men are said to 
be lost in these rapids every year. And it really 
seems too dangerous work to put men to year in year 
out. Think of the tow-line breaking ! During the 
little time we have been away, we saw one junk 
wrecked, and two drifting down-stream unmanageable, 
their tow-lines having broken, and nearly all their 
men being ashore. And the farthest point we got to 
was only fifteen miles from Ichang ; so we got back 
down-stream in two hours. We did not go farther, 
because our captain said it was just then too dangerous 
to take our house-boat past the three terrible whirlpools 
of Nantor ; and, of course, half the pleasure of the 
trip was in landing every now and then, and walking 
up the wild, narrow glens to different points of view. 
One day we walked from ten to seven to the Terrace 
of the Sun, where there is a small Taoist temple on 
a little ledge of rock just big enough to hold it, at the 
top of a mountain quite two thousand feet high, and 
with a sheer precipice on one side. Another day we 
walked from half-past six till half-past fiv^ to the Gold 


Intimate China '^ 

Diamond Mountain, where there is a Buddhist temple 
on a slightly larger plateau, with a spring on the 
top of the mountain, and a wonderful panoramic view. 
It is over a thousand feet higher than the other, 
and to get to it you walk along a quite narrow path 
with precipices on both sides. Do you realise that 
in China there are no railings and no roads, nothing 
but narrow paths like English field-paths ? I never 
really believed it till I came here. And the agricul- 
turists are always encroaching upon even the narrow 
paths there are, planting Indian corn and a few beans 
or something, on the chance that the passer-by will 
not tread upon them. 

*' The people are greatly interested in seeing a 
European woman. The women flock round, and beg 
me to take off my gloves and my hat, that they may 
see how my hair is done, and the colour of my hands. 
Then some old woman is sure to squeeze my feet, to 
see if there is really a foot filling up all those big boots : 
for, of course, all the women here have small feet — that 
is, they have them bandaged up ; and astonishingly v/ell 
they get along upon their hoof-like feet. They are very 
friendly, and bring out chairs and benches before their 
cottage doors, and beg us to sit down, and offer us tea, 
or, if they have not got that ready, hot water. But the 
children cry with terror if I touch them or go too near ; 
and one little boy in a school we went into simply 
trembled with fear all the time I stood near him to hear 
him read. Sometimes also the dogs run away without 
barking, they are so afraid : a great comfort this is, for 


-^ Fireflies 

the barking of the dogs, and the loathsome-looking pigs 
at each cottage, and the smells, are the great objection 
to going through the often lovely-looking — from a 
distance — villages. Hoang San Tung, on its terrace 
nearly a hundred feet above the river, with all its curved 
roofs, looked really like a flight of doves settled down 
there, the wings not quite folded yet ; and several of the 
others are very picturesque from a distance. But the 
smells of Ping Shan Pa obliged us to change our 
anchorage, there being no reason why we should endure 
them. There were fireflies there ; but not such glorious 
ones as at Shih Pai, where they cast long trails of light 
upon the river, and were the most luminous I have ever 
seen. I do hope there will be soon a steamer running to 
transport people safely and easily to this delightful region. 
No boats were able to come down while we were up 
the river ; and of some machinery for the Viceroy of 
Szechuan, that came up here on the previous voyage of 
the steamer in which we travelled, we have heard already 
that two boatloads are lost, and it is just as likely as 
not that the loss of these may make the rest useless. 

"Seeing these ranges of mountains, across which 
it would, indeed, be difficult to make roads, and 
across which there certainly are none, I better realise 
how completely the rich and productive province 
of Szechuan — the size of France — is cut off from the 
rest of the world. Yet it will be sad if steamers 
introduce an unappreciative crowd to the grand solitudes 
of the ravines and precipices, the rocks and rapids of 
the Yangtse. Now one can pick one's hands full of 


Intimate China "^ 

flowers, without thinking one is spoiHng any one else's 
enjoyment. Now one is away from letters and papers, 
from all the ' warstle and the wear o't,' and can enjoy the 
health-giving breezes and the grandeur of the scenery 
quite undisturbed. It does not require to have lived 
perspiring and almost clotheless through the tea-season 
at Hankow to enjoy such a trip ; but now I begin to 
realise more than I did at the time what Hankow is, 
with its willow-shaded Bund, and its painted tea-chests 
flying along on the shoulders of coolies, and agitated 
buyers and sellers, and no 'mountain and water' 
beauty, as the Chinese call the beauty of landscape, only 
its mirages and its sunsets." 

It is always pleasant to sail before a wind, and 
boat-travel taken thus is the delight of travel in essence 
divested of all its ennuis, of tiresome fellow-travellers, 
dust, steam, rush ! Yet there is rushing enough in the 
Yangtse Rapids ; but rushing of such another sort ! 
We ran upon a rock our first day, and were not able 
to find a leak that night by the flickering light of a 
Chinese candle. But next day a bag of damaged rice 
showed clearly where it was, and a little tangle of 
cotton-yarn with some tallow made it all right. After 
that our mast cracked so alarmingly that we shortened 
sail ; but that also was soon made right, the sole of 
an old shoe being nailed over the crack. Old shoes 
seem to have lasting power. And we sailed on again 
before the favourable wind that had carried us from 
Ichang, all through the Yangtse Gorges, in less than 


■^ Meng Liang's Ladder 

a week. Was some of our good fortune owing to the 
three joss-sticks burning at the stern ? They also were 
stuck in an old shoe, or rather straw sandal this time. 
Perhaps old shoes have a meaning, like so many other 
things in China, not understood by people not imbued 
from their cradles with the profound truths of Fung shui. 
Our voyage was like a dream of childhood realised, 
a dream inspired by many readings of Sinbad's mar- 
vellous travels. At Ichang they were making merry 
over a disappointed globe-trotter, who had been to 
see the Gorges, and come back complaining they were 
not perpendicular ! Whether he insisted on their 
descending perpendicularly to their winter water-line, 
or their summer water-line, not seldom sixty feet apart, 
report said not. But if he had come on to the Bellows 
Gorge, surely even he must have been satisfied. The 
great Szechuan Road, the one new road I have seen in 
China, is simply hewn out of the face of the apparently 
perpendicular rock, so that the cliff arches over it. 
There on the southern side are the square holes in the 
rock, memorial of Chinese daring, which the celebrated 
General Meng Liang caused to be made, so that in 
the night he could take his soldiers, on pieces of wood 
stuck into these square holes, a rude but strong ladder, 
up the face of the clifC naturally supposed to be in- 
accessible, and surprise the enemy, thereby conquering 
the kingdom of Shu. There also are the caves, where 
men gather saltpetre at dizzy heights, climbing up to 
them by paths that make one hot to look at. Farther 
on are the iron pillars on one side, and opposite the 


Intimate China ^ 

holes in the rock, between which chains were fastened 
so as to prevent those of the kingdom to the west of 
the Gorges from coming down in their vessels to attack 
the men of Hupeh, then the kingdom of Wei. And 
here, as we left the gorge, we saw the temple to the 
memory of Liu Pei, who was there encamped, and 
slain when Meng Liang made his marvellous night 
attack. This borderland teems with memories, and 
the Chinese do not quickly forget. In Kweichow there 
is still a tablet to the wife of Liu Pei, over the well 
at the back of what is now the Prefect's official 
residence, where she drowned herself when her husband 
was slain, nearly two thousand years ago. 

But the day we were there was New Year's Eve, and 
even our man-servant said it was impossible for me to 
go into the city to see it that day ; and on the next 
day's festival it would be cruel to trouble our good 
soldiers to escort us. For we were travelling with that 
great luxury, a gunboat, that is also a lifeboat ; and 
the soldiers, as in all this admirably organised lifeboat 
service, were excellent fellows, whether for handling 
an oar or for keeping back the crowd. They seemed 
positively to delight in carrying the camera, or in 
posing for a foreground, evidently admiring their own 
clothes very much, and being very wishful to know 
if we could read the characters upon their jackets. 
Jiut for this gunboat, which sailed faster than our 
passenger-boat, and could put us ashore anywhere, 
we should have been dei)rived of nearly all our inter- 
esting walks ; for our boat sailed on and on even into 


By Mrs. Archibald Liltle. 

-^ Ascending a Rapid 

the night. Sailing through the never-ending Witches' 
Gorge, ever following White Wings before, a beautifully 
appointed junk, that had kept just ahead of us all day, 
and seeing our first sunset since we started, soft saffron 
in the west, had a very magical effect. It seemed im- 
possible ever to go back again to one's friends. Why 
not sail on for ever, since one had for once discovered 
the Ideal Life ? 

" We knew the merry world was round. 
And we might sail for evermore." 

But there were other moments, and moments oft 
repeated, when all was excitement and action. Wild 
shouts and wavings of arms encouraged the steaming 
trackers. The water boiled round the bows. The 
drum sounded. A man sprang on to an almost 
impossible rock — it is climbed at least twenty times 
nearly every day — and disengaged the tow-line, on 
which our lives were depending. The camera was at 
full cock ! And then a sailor reached in front of it, 
and that moment was lost ! But the boat hung fire, 
and we tried again. At one rapid there were women 
tracking — women with their hoof-like feet and loathly 
trousers, giving delicate little pulls, that surely could not 
advance the boat much. Then our soldiers were poling 
and hooking, with crimson faces and straining arms! 
Now we are through that race, and flying along in the 
eddy preparatory to the tug-of-war at the next rapid ! 
The trackers are running ahead like a pack of beagles 
A side-ravine becomes visible, with a grand gateway, 


Intimate China ^ 

irresistibly recalling Coleridge's ''like cliffs that have 
been rent asunder." Then we gaze at caves, squared, 
and with fresh-looking ladders hanging from them, and 
understand they are places of refuge for the husband- 
men in the houses opposite to retire into should danger 
threaten, and that it is not so very long since they were 
used. Certainly, they would appear able to stand every 
siege but that of hunger. 

We passed rocks fluted like organ-pipes, with the 
stones that had done the fluting still held captive in 
them ; rocks fretted almost into lacework by the action 
of the water ; rocks weathered red, and rocks weathered 
grey ; and one day we saw a black mass, which we were 
told was harder than steel, yet it was gnarled and gnawn 
in rings. After passing that black mass, the strata 
sloped from east to west, just as on the other side of 
the Gorges they sloped from west to east ; thus, coming 
up-stream, the rocks no longer seemed so menacing 
as before. 

" But here are the far-famed singing girls of Kweichow, 
with reedlike voices, and a man, very pale, with a face 
like Dante, for accompanist on a pretty little viol ; and 
the sound of merry-making increases. Our soldiers have 
been cooking their pig's head nearly all day. A 
mandarin's boat moored next to us has a regular witches' 
cauldron, full of the cock that every one has been 
carrying about these last few days, comb, legs, and all, 
a pig's head, and several more uncanny-looking bits of 
meat. Evidently our trackers also are enjoying a good 
feed outside. We have twenty lusty rogues, besides our 


-^ A Burnt-offering 

boat's crew. And we are all moored in a tangled mass ; 
so that there does not seem to be room for even one 
boat more to spend its New Year at Kweichow Fu. 
There are joss-sticks burning at our cabin door. Joss- 
sticks were burnt solemnly over our pig's head in the 
gorge in the morning of that day, a cannon solemnly 
fired three times, and the cook prostrated himself as he 
offered the burnt-offering. Now crackers are going off 
all round ; and every man who has a chance has asked 
me if I do not think Szechuan the most beautiful 
country in the world. Even the captain tried to hurry 
me in the morning into photographing the entrance into 
the first Szechuan gorge. ' Szechuan is beautiful,' he said. 
So say all the men with white handkerchiefs bound 
round their brows, thus showing their Western origin." 

But it was all beautiful, all wild, all grand, after 
we entered the Land of Promase through the gate 
of the Ichang Gorge. For those who do not love 
Nature in her wilder moods this was not the time of 
year to travel through the Gorges. They should wait 
till spring has garlanded them with flowers like a 
Mayfair ballroom, and perfumed the breezes with their 
fragrance. There is a certain sameness about the 
grandeur of the scenery when seen always under a 
leaden sky with a north-easter driving us on. But 
for those who admire precipice piled upon precipice, 
and rocks rent asunder, every season is the season for 
the Gorges, where the Niukan is perhaps the loveliest ; 
but the Ping Shu Gorge and that of the Fearsome 
Pool are certainly the most solemn and impressive ; 


Intimate China ^ 

while the Witches' Gorge offers the most variety, and 
the Ichang Gorge, though perhaps only because it is 
best known, ever seems the friendliest, and is certainly 
the most fantastic. 

All China New Year's Day we wandered through 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

the ruins of Liu Pel's city. Bits of the wall remain, 
and the gateway under the old drum tower ; but it is 
a little hard to believe these date from a.d. 200, 
although all the people declare they do, and our 
man-servant begged that they might be photographed. 
We picnicked under a beautiful clump of trees, looking 
down upon the grand rock mass, whose being covered 




By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

■^ Great Szechuan Road 

by the river is the signal for the Kweichow authorities 
to forbid the passage of junks down-river as too 
dangerous. The days of this grand rock mass standing 
in mid Yangtse must be numbered, supported as it 
is on three pillars ; thus there are two arches to be 
seen beneath it, when the water is low enough. We 
wandered through a lovely temple on the hill, com- 
manding the most picturesque view we had yet seen 
down the last Fearsome Gorge. Unlike most Chinese 
temples, this, the first Szechuan temple I had seen, 
was really exquisitely kept, clean, and well swept, with 
clean, bright windows of many-coloured paper panes. 
The priests were polite, the images freshly painted. 
We came down through a village, again all clean and 
fresh as paint. Every one was in good clothes, of 
course, as it was New Year's Day ; but it was surprising 
to find that even the smartest women were ready to 
be photographed, and not at all too frightened to look 
into the camera themselves. 

We longed to walk along the great Szechuan Road, 
completed as far as the Hupeh frontier, sixty miles, at 
a reputed cost of ^52,000, and really a road, though, 
as is usual in Szechuan, it is often long flights of 
steps, and several of its crossings over streams looked 
doubtful. The Chinese do not make roads sufficiently 
often to be good road-makers. Hupeh was to have 
continued this road through its gorges to Ichang ; 
and the great Lo, the Marquis of Carabas of these 
parts, had just been up to inspect and chalk O where 
the road was to go. If it were ever finished and 


Intimate China ^^ 

could last, it would rival the Cornlche Road for 
magnificence of scenery. 

But years have past since we first travelled on the 
Upper Yangtse, and no steps have yet been taken to 
carry the road down-river ; the funds intended for this 
purpose are said all to have been absorbed in paying 
compensation for damage done to foreigners' property 
in the riots of one summer. Some day, perhaps, a 
railway will be cut out along the river-channel. In 
the meantime, my husband has proved the long-doubted 
practicability of steaming through the rapids, by him- 
self taking a little steamer up without any foreign 
assistance to help him, only Ningpo engineers, who 
knew neither the Szechuan speech nor ways, and a 
Szechuan pilot, who had never been on a steamer 
before. That voyage will for ever rank among the 
most exciting experiences of my life ; for all the popula- 
tion along the river turned out to see the steamer, so 
that the cities presented the appearance of having all 
their outlines heavily underscored with a blue pencil ; 
whilst sometimes as many as five Chinese lifeboats 
and gunboats, with large pennants and burgees flying, 
and occasionally firing their cannon, all wanted her to 
tow them at once, since their mission was to protect 
her. And as the little steamboat could at the outside go 
nine knots an hour, it w^as, indeed, a business to get her 
up the rapids. In one case— the worst — she steamed 
all she could, and three hundred men, harnessed to 
tracking-lines, pulled all they could, till one great 
bamboo line snapped. But she got up safely after 


-^ Pioneer Steamer Voyage 

seven minutes, in which one felt as if one's hair turned 
white ; for if she had once got her head round, she must 

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury. 

have been lost, and every man aboard her. A more 
powerful steamer would make nothing of many of the 
rapids, and even that worst one at some seasons of 
the year is barely noticeable. 

The chief points of interest, after passing through 
the Gorges, are Changfei's beautiful temple, a great 
place to spend a happy day at ; the singularly beautifully 
situated city of Wanhsien ; Changchow, with Its graceful 
bamboo groves ; and Fengtu, the Chinese Hades. 

To a Chinaman this last Is the most Interesting place 
along the river : for the Emperor of the dead Is supposed 
to live on the little hill there, as the Emperor of the 


Intimate China 

living does at Peking ; and whenever a Chinaman 
dies, all the world over, a letter ought to be written 
to Fengtu announcing his death, and not dropped 
casually into the post, but solemnly burnt by a Taoist 
priest. It is the one place Chinese boatmen regard 
with awe, and they object to moving about at night 

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury. 

near Fengtu. Pilgrims come in great numbers to see 
the well that is reputed bottomless ; and every one 
burns a little paper and throws it in. So that when I 
saw it the well appeared quite full up to the top. There 
was an iron cover over it I longed to photograph ; 
and as it was quite dark by the well, I asked whether 
the soldiers accompanying me might carry it outside 


-^ Chinese Hades 

into the daylight and to my surprise no objection was 
made to their doing so ; and when I set up the camera, 
a priest said he would stand beside it with an incense- 
stick, as that would look better. There is a great 
sword at Fengtu ; but we did not learn the legend about 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

this. The whole hillside was covered with temples, all 
crowded with pilgrims ; and my husband said if I would 
go photographing in Chinese places of pilgrimage, I really 
must not expect him to accompany me. But I was new 
to China then, and enthusiastic ; so four soldiers linked 
their arms round me, and in that manner I photographed 


Intimate China 

On another voyage 
we stopped at Fengtu 
for the night as we 
were proceeding up- 
river. It was when 
the chapels and houses 
throughout Szechuan 
were being burnt down, 
and missionaries flying 
for their lives, though 
no one was killed, 
happily. All the people 
on the foreshore rushed 
down to look at our 
boat, brandishing bam- 
boos ; and our servants 
said they had to shout 
very loud and very energetically that we were not 
missionaries in order to save our lives. The principal 
official sent down additional soldiers to guard us through 
the night. But it was impossible to be frightened. 
For that, I think, was really the very hottest night 
I have lived through ; even lying on the roof of the 
boat it was impossible to do anything but gasp. 

Beyond Fengtu are the colossal statues of the 
philanthropic beancurd- seller and his wife, hewn out 
of the living rock, and sitting in caves made in the 
rock out of which they are hewn. Beyond them, 
again, comes a very pleasant country of farmsteads, 
and great shade-trees, and caves in the rock-face, once 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

-^ Cave-dwellings 

inhabited, it is believed, by the aborigines, who were 
there before the Chinese came. But if so, how well 
and neatly they are shaped ! And why did people 
who could square doorways so neatly live in such un- 
comfortable, dark places as caves ? People all say to 
one another that these caves would be very interesting 
subjects for study ; but so far no one has studied them. 
Thus, by many windings, and past great bridges, and 
up more rapids, at last we arrive at terrible, long reaches 
of rocks ; and then at Chungking, the commercial 
capital of Szechuan, China's westernmost, and one of 
its largest and richest provinces. But Chungking 
deserves a chapter to itself, especially as it is the only 
Chinese city within whose walls I have lived for years. 
Some people call thus living " doing a term of fortress." 
A Chinese city is certainly very like a prison. 




Large Farmsteads. — Wedding Party — Atoning for an 
Insult. — Rowdy Lichuan. — Old-fashioned Inn. — 
Dog's Triumphal Progress. — Free Fight. — Wicked 
Music. — Poppy-fields. — Bamboo Stream. 

IT is very unusual to make the journey from Ichang 
to Chungking by land ; but one year in the 
spring-time the thought of the dog-roses and the 
honeysuckle tempted us, as also the prospect of getting 
to our destination a few days earlier ; so we crossed 
the river at Ichang, and set off over the mountains, 
at first all white and glittering with new-fallen snow. 
How delicious oranges tasted, when we took alternate 
bites of them and crisp mountain snow ! 

Here and there were large farmsteads, where a 
whole clan lived together, thus avoiding the loneliness 
of English country life, as also the insecurity. How 
it works, and whether there is some natural law by 
which no family increases beyond a certain number, 
or how it is decided when the moment comes that 
some members have to go out into the world to seek 
their fortunes, and who it should be, I do not know. 
But it is obvious that the Chinese plan leads to a great 
deal of pleasant sociability ; and as it is always the 


■^ Wedding Party 

eldest man of the family whose authority is (nominally) 
absolute, this must lead to a certain continuity of regime, 
very different from what it would be, if, as with us, 
a young eldest son every now and then became the 
head. It also leads to the erection of very large and 
very beautiful homesteads, with generally a beautiful 
temple near at hand. 

It was a pretty sight one day to watch a wedding 
party behind us winding up and down the mountain- 
sides, seven men carrying flags, seven or eight ponies 
with red cloth saddles, a red State umbrella carried 
by itself, two sedan-chairs, and music, which last 
sounded quite pleasantly in the fresh country air. They 
were going to fetch the bride, we were told ; but our 
last sight of them was sad. For, encountering an opium 
caravan, one of the wedding party was saucy, and a free 
fight ensued, branches being torn off the trees, whilst 
all the cavaliers, now mounted, stood huddled together 
on a hill, declaring they knew nothing about it instead 
of dashing in to the rescue. Meanwhile, one at least of 
the wedding party was carried off prostrate and bleeding, 
and the opium caravan, with its heavy carrying-poles, 
was having it all its own way. 

Once we thought we w-ere going to spend the night, 
as we always tried to do, at a lonely inn ; but there was 
a village just beyond it, and the villagers came over, 
and were rather troublesome in their curiosity. What 
was particularly annoying was that our room was only 
partly boarded over at the top with loose, dirty boards ; 
and when we closed the door, all who could rushed 


Intimate China ^ 

up ladders into the rafters to look down, or on to 
the loose boards above us, staring down at us, and 
covering us and our dinner with dust. This had to 
be stopped ; so we opened the door again. And I got 
so tired of the people, I went outside to walk up and 
down the road in the moonlight, though certainly we 
had had quite enough walking ; for our little pony had 
lost two shoes, and with so many miles yet to go 
had to be spared a good deal. Even in the moonlight, 
however, a growing crowd followed me, staring and 
giggling, till impatiently I remonstrated. On which a 
man stepped forward as spokesman. " We are nothing 
but mountain people," he said, " and anything like you 
we have never seen before ! So we do just want to 
look." On this it w^as impossible not to show oneself 
off, answering beforehand all the questions I knew they 
would otherwise ask, on which they laughed merrily, 
quite delighted. But we really wanted to go to bed 
some time or other ; and so far I had not been able 
to wash at all except just my face and hands, which 
after a long day across mountains is hardly satisfactory. 
So now we tried the expedient of being exceedingly 
polite, and wishing them all good-night. After this 
had been repeated two or three times, the door being 
shut after each good-night, the people dispersed, some 
each time taking the hint and going away. But, alas ! 
it seemed some were going to sleep up above us ; and 
as there was nothing to prevent their staring down at 
us as much as they liked over the ends of the loose 
planks, I had to wait till my husband had undressed 


-^ Free Fight and Chinese Justice 

comfortably by candle-light, and put the candle out, 
and then, as so often before, go to bed in the dark. 
Certainly, a man has great advantages in travelling. 

Another day one of our coolies had a fight with 
one of his substitutes about pay. Every man we pay 
always sweats the work out to some one else. The 
substitute boxed his ears. He called his substitute's 
mother dreadful names. They were both from the 
same town, which made It worse. In a second all our 
men had thrown down their loads, and were flying 
down the hill to join in the fight. As we had just 
passed through a little village, I thought, of course, my 
husband, who was behind, had been attacked ; whilst 
he came hurrying up to learn what had been done 
to me. Meanwhile, our cook, the real fighting man 
of our party, had rushed in to have his innings, just 
as ignorant as either of us as to what had really 
occurred. Whatever it was, we felt sorry for the poor 
substitute, overpowered by the members of our party ; 
so we at last succeeded in stopping the tail-pulling and 
cudgelling, but not before the poor man's face was 
all bleeding. Some ten miles farther on we came to 
a wayside house, with two venerable-looking Chinamen 
sitting in the seat of justice, and the whole party had 
to go in. It was decided our coolies were in the 
wrong. And I was delighted to hear that such an 
insult as they had offered to the man's mother could 
not be atoned for by money. They had publicly to 
k^otow (bow till they touched the ground with their 
foreheads), and to apologise. 


Intimate China ^ 

At Lichuan occurred our first mobbing, the more 
unfortunate as most of our coolies came from there. 
Our cook had, as we thought, very imprudently engaged 
rooms for us in an inn outside the walls, and evidently 
not the best inn. To make it worse, it had an entrance 
back and front, and the room assigned to us had 
three large windows. So often we had no windows 
at all, it seemed particularly unfortunate we should 
have three there ; for in poured a howling crowd, 
and the windows were at once a sea of faces. We 
thought it best to bolt the door of the room, setting 
our soldier-coolie on guard over it. And the only 
thing to do with the windows seemed to be to close 
the shutters and wait inside in the darkness, hoping 
the crowd would go away when there was nothing 
more to see. But there were eyes and fingers at 
every crack — and the room was all cracks — and the 
people coughed to attract our attention; and called to 
us to come out ; while to judge by the sounds — but 
one can never do this in China — there seemed to be 
fierce fighting between some of them and our coolies. 
Presently my husband went out, and tried to reason 
with them, telling them if it was only himself they 
should be free to come into his room, and see him all 
the time ; but they knew themselves it was not proper 
to look into women's apartments. They seemed too 
low and rude a crowd for reasoning ; so then he went 
to the landlord. And there were one or two furious 
onslaughts, and then as many or more men as were 
driven out from before came in from behind. And the 


-^ A Real Christian 

landlord said he was powerless. Once they broke the 
shutters open, and my husband really frightened them, 
rushing out and asking who was trying to steal our 
things, and saying he would have the thieves arrested 
and taken to the yamen. This was an excellent idea, 
and quieted them for a little while. But then it all 
began again. 

And meanwhile our combative cook, getting ready 
our dinner in the midst of all the hurly-burly, was 
evidently with difficulty putting a restraint on him- 
self We had to light a candle to dine by, and this 
let Bedlam loose again. It was our first really hot 
day, and we were very tired ; but it was evident there 
was to be no rest for us that evening. Then, just as 
in a very disconsolate state we were going to bed, 
between twenty and thirty very smartly dressed women 
actually came to call upon us, introduced, as it were, by 
a Christian from Wanhsien, who was on a visit to her 
relations. She came in, shaking hands very affection- 
ately at once, and sitting down to talk, as if she were our 
dearest friend ; whilst she pronounced the people very 
bad people, and said she was going away again directly. 
But whether she was a real Christian or not we did not 
know, although we have since heard all about her, and 
that she is a very enthusiastic convert. There were not 
enough seats to offer the other women one each. It 
was very late, and the noise pretty great ; so, after we 
had admired their large, hanging, silver earrings, and 
they had taken stock of us, as it were, they went away 
again, and then — out with the lights and to bed ! But 


Intimate China ^ 

there were fingers feeling, feeHng at the cracks, ana 
rude coughs, and noises for hours after that. 

Next day we took care to be off before daybreak, 
and it was from the open country beyond we saw the 
sun rise over Lichuan ; but the general appearance of 
the town was as if it had long ago set. All the hazy 
temples looked dilapidated, and the inhabitants had a 
decidedly opium-eating air. And worst of all, there 
were no horseshoes to be had. But the little pony 
still trotted bravely on with shoes on Its two fore feet. 
It Is rice that specially flourishes round Lichuan, and 
the reflections In the paddy-fields were very lovely all 
that day. There was a thunderstorm In the evening ; 
but nothing like so magnificent as what we had a night 
or two before, when we took refuge in a schoolhouse, 
where the master delighted my husband by his very 
educated Chinese. 

But then came the question of putting up for the 
night again. Every one seemed agitated, and kept 
hurrying on In front, as if not wanting to be questioned ; 
and meanwhile we never stopped ! Yet every one was 
complaining of not feeling well ; and there were the 
barrier mountains in front, and nothing now visible 
between us and them but one of those large Isolated 
farmhouses, of which we had seen so many. There 
was a network of rice-fields In front of it, the whole 
river here being spread out over the fields ; and there, 
with a screen of gnarled willows before It, the old farm- 
house stood, raised on a little platform, looking down 
on the waste of waters. Could It be possible that we 


^ Chinese Propriety 

were going to ask hospitality of a private house? It 
seemed so, for there was the Boy coming back from 
the house to greet us. '' Come in quickly, Mississy. 
No man must see you. And you no must say anything. 
My have say all a mistakey, you no belong woman, 
you one man." '' But why is that? Why did you say 
I was a man?" "This belong old-fashion Chinese 
inn — no can have one woman. The last inn say 
no got any room, because no will have one woman. 
So my go on very fast, and say you one man. The 
people no savee. Only come in quickly now." Would 
a stricter moralist have thought it necessary to re- 
pudiate the falsehood, and explain ? It was late, 
and we were tired, and I went quickly to the inner 
room. Then the Boy began to explain further. 
According to him, it is in China the height of impro- 
priety for a man and a woman in travelling to share 
the same room. When a Chinese mandarin travels, his 
wife goes into the women's quarter with the other 
women. Unfortunately, in these inns there was no 
women's quarter ; so at Lichuan, where it seems the 
difficulty had begun, the Boy had said if the landlord 
would give me another room I would occupy it, but 
there had been none for me. The last inn had refused 
us outright ; and this being a regular old-fashioned inn 
and farmhouse, the Boy had felt quite sure it would 
do likewise if it knew. All this was a new idea to us. 
And as we saw all the women of the household taking 
peeps at us from the window over the buffalo-stable 
opposite, we fancied their suspicions had been aroused, 

65 F 

Intimate China <*- 

and that after all they knew I was a woman. All 
across the mountains there had been a great wondering 
as to what I was, and I had often heard the country 
people beseeching the coolies to tell them. When I 
sat in my chair in my long fur coat, and my husband 
rode the pony, they had no doubt at all but that I was 
a man, and a mandarin, and he my outrider ; and they 
used to ask about me in this spirit, and in one village all 
stood with bated breath whilst I was carried by. But 
with the fur coat, which is greatly worn by mandarins, 
my dignity departed, and, on foot or on horseback, I 
was altogether an anomaly. The hair seemed to be the 
hair of a woman ; but, then, the feet were surely the feet 
of a man ! 

Next day, however, our falsehood was revealed ; for 
it poured pretty well all day : the rain had streamed in 
on my husband's bed during the night, and wet most 
of his things ; one of the coolies was very ill with cold, 
the cook pretty sick, my husband ditto ; and we settled 
to stop the day. And it being so chilly, we were but 
too thankful to leave our very draughty, damp rooms, 
and to go and sit in one of the family's rooms in the 
farmhouse part, where a fire of chaff and shavings on 
the floor made a great smoke and a little warmth, and 
where all the huge family Interviewed us by turns, as 
we turned over picture-books. The men of the family 
had a most lively game of cards going on, and all our 
coolies likewise settled to cards. But some of the family 
were reading the YI King, which, as the head of the 
house said, was the foundation of all wisdom, and is one 


Chinese Amusements 

of the most difficuh of all Chinese classics. This rather 
delighted me, just as it did in the boat coming down 
to find our coolies and some junk-owners going down 
with us all amusing themselves with puzzles. I had 
always known as Chinese, but never before seen in 
China, in especial the complicated cross puzzle made 
roughly out of bits of bamboo. 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

One day we passed a beautiful free school, built 
by some wealthy man for the advantage of his poorer 
neighbours in this remote region. 


Intimate China ^ 

It was after this began the Httle dog's triumphant 
progress. People had enjoyed seeing him everywhere. 
But now, on the borderland between the two provinces 
of Hupeh and Szechuan, they really revelled in him. 
Mothers brought out their babies, who cooed with 
delight ; boys danced backwards down the street before 
him, clapping their hands. Not the most advanced 
opium-smoker but his pallid face relaxed into a smile 
at catching sight of our little Jack ; and everywhere 
we moved to a chorus of " Lion-dog ! Lion-dog ! " and 
general happy smiles. I could not but recall how 
in one town, too dirty even to dine in, the crowd had 
surveyed us, and at last one boy had said, " Well ! 
their animals are good-looking," then felt all that 
his speech implied, and looked confounded. But we 
had again and again heard people admiring the pony's 
condition, and saying, " At least foreigners know how 
to take care of animals." So my husband was well 
satisfied, and I was too, being again asked to sell 
little Jack, whom the people thought we must be taking 
to market, or why did we take him along the road 
with us ? A Taoist priest had even come down from 
his temple to ask that the dog might be presented to 
it. So we felt that at least our animals were appreciated, 
whatever we might be. 

This was all very well when they did not pelt us. 
But they did sometimes. And in one town out of 
the crowd came a really well-dressed man, and seized 
hold of my foremost chair-coolie — I was always carried 
through the towns — crying out, ''You said it was a 


^ Pelted ! 

friend of yours ! " The coolies offered no resistance. 
Before that I had been vainly urging them to carry 
me faster ; they had appeared to be waiting for some- 
thing. But my husband now sprang forward, and seized 
the well-dressed man, when, to his surprise, the latter 
showed fight. And then all the people on the bank 
above us began to pelt, throwing rather better than usual 
too. My husband was hit in several places. Our fighting 
cook was hit too, but, I believe, flatters himself he gave 
quite as good as he got. Even the decidedly non- 
fighting Boy's pugnacious instincts were roused. " Only 
I thought it would be so dleadful for you, Mississy," 
he said afterwards. So he did not fight. As for me, 
I honestly own I never once looked behind, having a 
great regard for my eyes when any earth-throwing 
begins. And the coolies now hurried me away with a 
will, as my husband had dragged off their assailant by 
his pigtail, and deposited him in a paddy-field. Several 
of the onlookers, being unpleasantly hurt, now told our 
party the whole thing had been got up by the well- 
dressed man and one or two more, well known in 
the place, and regular bullies, who had distributed cash 
among the crowd to get us pelted simply out of hatred 
to foreigners. 

At the next town we were again a little pelted. But 
when we got back to the main road, travelling along 
once more beside the telegraph-wires, the people were 
what we call in China very civil ; in any other country 
it would be outrageously insolent and ill-mannered. 
And before we got there we had to sleep one night 


Intimate China ^ 

in one of the most stinking, dirty towns we ever passed 
through. We arrived late, so were happily not well 
seen ; and the people there, having a guilty conscience, 
thought that we were officials sent to stop them from 
gambling or some other bad practice. So we should 
have had a quiet resting-time but for all night long the 
most dreadful sort of music going on near at hand. It 
was the kind of music that Wagner might have liked for 
a motif. But the Boy said it was horribly wicked, and 
not even a thing to mention before a lady. As far as I 
could make out, it was incantations over a sick person, 
not made by any priest, he said, but by the people 
themselves, and with witches and dancing. But he 
spoke of it with such horror, it seemed wrong to 
question him. It had a weird, wicked sound; but it 
did not keep us awake. Only, whenever I woke, I 
heard it still going on ; and it seemed quite in character 
with the general look of the place and the sweet sickly 
opium smell as we entered the small town. W^e went 
away early next morning through a regular thick fog ; 
and directly we escaped from the filth of the town, we 
were in the prosperous-looking, healthy poppy-fields 

For five days we travelled through a perfect flower- 
show of poppies, not the wild field-poppy of England, 
but like those we have in our gardens, standing up tall 
and stately about ^v^ feet high. Most were white, a 
delicate, fair, frail blossom ; others were white, with 
fringed petals edged with pink ; others altogether pink, 
or mauve, or scarlet, or scarlet-and-black, or, perhaps 


^ A Pleasant Path 

best of all, crimson, which, when looked up at on a 
bank standing out against the brilliantly blue sky, made 
our eyes quite ache with colour-pleasure. But how 
sad to hear In a letter from a friend in the Kweichow 
Province : " Ten years ago the price of rice per basin 
was 7 cash. Now, owing to the poppy taking the place 
of what ought to produce food for the people, the 
price is 20 cash for the same quantity of rice. And the 
people are wretchedly poor and ill-clad, whilst their 
poor bodies are wasting away from the constant use 
of the drug." One whole day we wandered along a 
pleasant path beside a limpid stream, beautiful, tall, 
bending bamboos making a refreshing breeze over our 
heads, with their cool green feathery foliage. If all 
the world could be traversed by paths like that, who 
would ever travel but on foot ? But in the end we 
arrived at beautiful Chungking in a boat, as is usual 
with this river-encircled city. 




Arrangement of a Chinese House. — Crowd in 
Streets. — My First Walk in Chungking City. — 
Presents. — Cats, Rats, and Eggs. — Paying a Call. — 
Ladies Affectionate. — Shocked at European In- 
decency. — Cost of Freight. — ^^Distance by Post. — 
Children's Pleasures. — Precautions during Drought. 
— Guild Gardens. — Pretty Environs. — Opium 
Flowers, and Smokers. — Babble of Schools. — 
Chinese Girlchild. 

CHUNGKING has been so fully described in my 
husband's volume Through the Yangtse Gorges, 
I will not here enter upon a description of it further 
than to say it is situated, like Quebec, at the junction 
of two rivers. It a little recalls Edinburgh; it is about 
the size of Lyons ; has walls all round it ; and its gates 
are shut at sunset, all but two, which remain open an 
hour or two longer, except when the country is in 
commotion. It is built upon a rock ; and as the summer 
progresses all the rock warms up, till the heat is very 
great indeed. The streets are mostly covered over, 
both as a protection against the sun, and the rain, which 
is very frequent. There is thus no possibility of fresh 
air getting into its streets, short of a gale occurring ; 
and there is only very rarely any wind, as is shown by 
the large shade-trees on the tops of the hills, and the 


^ Chinese House 

awnings to keep the sun off the houses, which are 
supported on bamboos, and which in this windless 
region are taken up even over the roofs of the houses. 
Now all the missions have built European houses ; 
but a little while ago all foreigners lived in Chinese 
houses within the walls of the city. To describe one : 
You enter off a dirty alley by a large gateway, the only 
opening in the lofty fire-proof walls that surround the 
whole property ; for fire is the great danger of a Chinese 
city, and a whole quarter of Chungking has been 
burnt down since we have lived there. You pass into 
a sort of courtyard ; from that you proceed by a long 
passage to another gateway, thence into a courtyard 
ornamentally laid out with pots and flowers. The house 
door opens from this ; and entering by it, you find your- 
self in the lofty entrance hall, used by Europeans as 
a dining-room. Passing through an ornamental screen 
with open doorways, over which hang portieres, you find 
yourself in a sitting-room, of which one wall and two 
half-walls consist of paper windows, with occasional panes 
of glass. On either side of these two principal rooms 
are long narrow ones, only thirteen feet wide, which 
for convenience their English occupants had divided 
into two, the end wall being in both cases again paper 
windows with occasional glass. Paper ceilings had been 
put in to prevent the dust falling through from the 
tiled roof above ; but the sun would shine through this 
as well as the tiles quite brilliantly at times. None of 
the partition doors had handles or latches, and the 
outer walls, as well as the inside partitions, were all alike 


Intimate China 




By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

of thin planks of wood, not overlapping, and which 
would shrink in dry weather so as to leave quite large 
openings between them. It will thus be realised that, 
whatever was the temperature outside the house, the 
same was the temperature inside, with the additional 
disadvantage of draughts on rainy, wintry days ; and in 
winter it generally rains in Chungking. Europeans 
always took care to secure wooden floors for them- 
selves ; but these floors were not uncommonly rotting 
away under their feet. And picturesque though the 


^ Crowded Streets 

houses are, with their lofty roofs, their soHd wooden 
pillars, black rafters, and white plaster, their highly 
decorated exteriors, little pictures in black and white 
under the eaves, richly carved and heavily gilded ends 
to the beams, etc., it became increasingly evident each 
year that Europeans could not hope for health in them. 
Chinese in winter wear heavily wadded and fur-lined 
clothes, in which it is impossible to take exercise, and 
inside of which they loll about in a semi-comatose 
condition, much as if in bed. 

The streets, although wide for a Chinese city, are 
very narrow in comparison with English streets, being 
only eight feet at the widest, and extraordinarily crowded. 
Passing through them is a continual pushing through 
a crowd of foot-passengers ; of sedan-chairs, carried 
by coolies, with sometimes one or two men running 
before to clear the way, and if it be necessary beat 
back the crowd ; of mules, donkeys, or ponies, with loads ; 
and of numbers of carrying-coolies, a bamboo across 
their shoulders, and from either end a basket hanging 
by strings. Everything that can be done in the streets 
is done in them : pedlars go by with great quantities 
of goods for sale ; men are mending broken china with 
little rivets after a fashion in which the Chinese are 
great experts ; here is a barber shaving a man's head, 
there are two women menders, on little stools very 
neatly dressed, pursuing their avocation ; here is a man 
working at an embroidery-frame, there a cobbler mend- 
ing shoes ; here some pigs, there some chickens ; here 
a baby in a hen-coop, there a pussy-cat tied to a shop- 


Intimate China 


counter ; and in the evenings street preachers, in the 
afternoons vast crowds pouring out from theatres. At 
night, in going out to dinner we used always to pass at 
least three street preachers. These men wear official 
caps, and are as a rule, I believe, reading or expound- 
ing the Sacred Edicts. There is always a little crowd 
listening, though often a very small one. In the better 
streets every attention is paid to decency ; in the lesser 
streets none is apparent. At the street corners there are 
often large tanks full of water, as a precaution against 
fire. These are invariably grown over with weed. A 
vast army of coolies is ' every day going down the 
steep flights of steps to the river to bring water, which 
drips from the buckets as it is carried along. Another 
army is carrying out the sewage of the city to be used 

^ My First Walk 

as manure. A very soft coal is used for fuel ; and 
baskets of coal are constantly being carried in, two 
dangling from a pole across a coolie's shoulders. The 
coal-dust, and the smoke, and the drippings, and the 
bustling crowd, all make the streets rather an unpleasant 
place to walk in. Yet, although every one told me it 
was impossible for an English lady to walk in them, 
I felt it was impossible for me to live in Chungking 
unless I did ; for in summer no one could walk out till 
sunset, and then the gates are closed : so after showing 
myself about as much as I could in a sedan-chair with 
the curtains up — unlike the other ladies, who all kept 
theirs down in those days — I determined to attempt 
a walk, with my sedan-chair, of course, following behind 
to show I had some claim to respectability. 

In a few minutes two or three hundred men and 
boys were following me. As long as they kept behind 
and did not press upon me, it did not so much matter ; 
but the boys have a knack of clattering past, and 
then turning round to stare into one's face in the most 
insulting and annoying manner. And I felt I could 
not go back home with all this rabble following, as 
of course they would all try to press into our house 
after me, and then there would probably be a row. 
So I turned into the official residence of the principal 
magistrate of the city, hoping that the guardians of his 
gate might stop both me and my following, as I sup- 
posed It would be their duty to do, and then I might 
somehow detach myself Into the first courtyard every 
one has a right to go ; but as we proceeded farther, 

8i G 

Intimate China <*- 

soldiers came up and remonstrated with me. "Well, 
do your duty — shut us out," I said. *' Do shut the people 
out, and then I won't go any farther." But they did 
not do their duty ; and so, not seeing what else to do, 
1 set up the camera and photographed the crowd and 
the soldiers, not doing their duty and turning them 
out. After that I got into my chair ; and the people, 
curiously enough, satisfied that that was what I had 
come out for, dispersed, and I arrived at home un- 
attended. But many a walk since then have I taken 
through these same streets ; and the people have got 
so accustomed to the sight of me, that they now do 
not turn round to look. 

One of the most fatiguing things about Chinese 
life is the presents. Whatever you do, you ought to 
take or send a present. Every lady who goes out to 
dinner takes a present to the hostess ; and at a certain 
period of the dinner all sorts of things are done up 
in a heterogeneous mass for each guest to take home 
to her children, if she has any ; whilst the hostess 
pays all her friends' chair-coolies, and the guest tips 
the hostess's servants, especially the cook, who has a 
great title of honour in China. If ladies care to call, 
they generally bring presents too, rolled up in a hand- 
some, coloured handkerchief. The most curious present 
I have received at a dinner party was a white cat, 
that could hardly see out of its eyes. The general 
present seems to be sponge-cakes or fruit. 

Cats are very much prized in a Chinese city, 
because of the fierce depredations of the rats ; and in 







By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

-»i Paying a Call 

Chungking cats are always kept prisoners, and only 
occasionally let loose at night. It is sad to see the 
poor things tied up ; and we have never been able to 
make up our minds to keep our cats thus chained. 
The consequence is they are always stolen, and have a 
miserable life of It, tied up, and probably far less 
well fed than they would have been with us. Fowls 
and pigs are both kept In Chinese cities, and the 
eggs get a most unpleasing flavour from the vile 
nature of the places where the poor hens have to 
lay them. 

When I pay a call on a lady, my chair has to be 
carried over the thresholds of the various courtyards, 
and set down quite close to the guest-room, where the 
lady of the house receives, so that I may at once step 
out of the chair into the house. A woman-servant, 
almost certainly a slave, comes to offer her shoulder as 
a help to my tottering footsteps, and I am conducted 
into the guest-room, round the walls of which there 
are little tables, large carved wooden chairs with 
straight backs being placed one on either side of each 
table against the wall. The ladies bow after the 
Chinese lady's fashion, placing the right hand on the 
top of the left against the chest, and moving the right 
hand slowly up and down ; the servants are ordered 
to bring tea; and then conversation commences. It 
Is never very interesting. The floors are as often as 
not made of hard mud ; the walls whitewashed, with 
long-shaped pictures, or kakemonos, hanging upon them, 
often with epigrammatic sentences in the decorative 


Intimate China ^' 


Chinese character. At one end of the room is the 
altarlike table, above which is the ancestral tablet, and 
on it stand generally candlesticks made of pewter, 
flower-vases, an incense-burner, and a small vase for 
incense-sticks. Embroideries are not hung over this 
table and on the backs of the chairs, unless it is the 
Chinese New Year time or a dinner party. When the 
tea is brought, little sugared cakes accompany it ; and men 
say the etiquette is to go away directly you have sipped 
the tea. But I have never known ladies observe this 
etiquette. Indeed, the chief fault in Chinese visits is 
that they are interminable. As no one exerts herself to 


-T) Chinese Ladies' Manners 

talk more than she feels inclined, there is, indeed, no 
reason why they should ever come to an end. 

Chinese ladies appear very affectionate, and are very 
caressing. Whether they really do like me or not, they 
almost always succeed in making me think they do ; 
and I think other European ladies would say the same. 
But as to whether the holding one's hand and occasion- 
ally stroking it means anything, I really do not know. 
They never have shown me anything, unless they 
wanted to sell it, except their children. At an artist's 
house pictures are brought out ; but they are all carefully 
rolled up and put away again. And at other houses 
embroideries worked by various brides of the family 
have been shown me ; but this was in order to see if 
I would buy them. It must be recollected that to the 
Chinese a foreign woman's tight-fitting dress showing 
her figure is very indecent. It also seems to them very 
shocking for a lady to go about unattended by a woman ; 
and for a woman to stand up firmly on her feet and 
walk on them like a man seems far more indelicate than 
it does in England to wear so-called rationals. Thus 
there are great difficulties to be got over at first. They 
are, indeed, greatly concerned about our indecency ; for 
they have heard no European woman wears trousers, 
and their first great anxiety is to examine under our 
petticoats, and see whether this is really true. Trousers 
are the one essential garment to a woman in China. 
Sometimes they ask, " Do you really eat with your 
waist girt in like that? How do you manage then .^ " 
But this they have only once had the opportunity 


Intimate China ^ 

of asking of me ; for knowing it to be considered 
objectionable, I avoid wearing anything that shows the 
figure, in China, as far as I can. After all, tea-jackets 
admit of many pretty varieties. A European man's 
dress Is, of course, a still greater scandal ; and to 
Chinese, the only explanation of It Is that the poor 
fellow had not enough cloth to cover himself properly. 
After spending any length of time amongst Orientals, 
I think every one must feel that our European dress 
Is lacking in grace and elegance. 

It takes longer to get a letter the fifteen hundred 
miles from Shanghai to Chungking than it does to 
get a letter the thirteen thousand from England to 
Shanghai. Freight of goods Is a great deal higher ; 
indeed, a ton of goods costs £6 from Shanghai to 
Chungking, and ^36 to get It to Tallfu in Yunnan. 
Once I wrote to England on Christmas Eve for 
stockings, saying I was in such need of them I 
should like to have them sent out by post ; and yet I 
never received those stockings till the following spring 
year. In an ordinary way, with good luck, you ought to 
get an answer to a letter from England In four months ; 
therefore, if you keep up a very animated correspond- 
ence with an English friend, always answering every 
letter directly you receive it, you write three letters a 
year. And curiously enough, whatever you may do 
at Chungking, the sense of Its being so very far away 
deters other people from writing to you. Charles Lamb 
has written a beautiful Ella essay upon this. He 
explains it by the suggestion that the writer, thinking 

-^ Want of Sympathy 

of the great distance the letter has to travel, fancies it 
(^rowing tired. Anyhow, the result tends to heighten 
the sense of isolation, which is perhaps nowhere so 
much felt as among Chinese. Whether it is their 
expressionlessness, their want of sympathy, or the whole 
character of their civilisation being so different from 
ours, very few Europeans can spend more than a year 
amongst Chinese without suffering from it. Some go 
mad with it, and all are accused of growing odd. There 
is no doubt that most of us become somewhat self- 
centred and unduly impressed with the importance of 
our own affairs ; but the depression that often overtakes 
people, women especially, is sadder to witness. In 
sending out missionaries, this is a point that ought to 
be specially considered : Have they enough strength of 
character to continue the work of an apostle without any 
outside spiritual or inspiriting influences whatsoever? It 
is not long since a man I had thought so ardent said to 
me : '' I am going away; and I never mean to return. 
I cannot go on giving out, and having no spiritual help 
myself." Yet, just because they are trying to live for 
others, ijiissionaries stand this trial best. I have known 
other men who from the moment they arrived in a 
Chinese town found no pleasure but in counting the 
days. "One more spent here! — one less to spend!" 
and this without even the least idea of when they would 
go away. 

To Chinese children I always think life in a Chinese 
city must be very pleasant. There are the great 
festivals : the Chinese New Year, with all its countless 


Intimate China ^ 

crackers ; the Dragon Boat Festival, when each district 
of the city mans a boat shaped Hke a dragon, and all 
paddle like mad, naked to the waist, and with a strange 
shout that must be very dear to children. Then there 
are the visits to the graves, when all the family goes out 
Into the country together ; and the long processions, 
when the officials are carried through the city In open 
chairs and long fur gowns, hundreds of umbrellas of 
gay colours going before them, and their retainers also 
riding in pairs and In fur coats of Inferior quality. All 
the beggar-children of the city have a high day then. 
With fancy dress of various sorts over their rags, they 
walk or ride or are carried round the city, sometimes 
as living pictures, sometimes representing conquered 
aborigines, sometimes even Englishmen in short square 
coats and tight trousers. In the spring-time a pro- 
cession goes out to meet the spring, and sacrifice an 
ox In the river-bed In Its honour ; and, strangely enough, 
the day In February on which this Is done Is always 
the most genial springlike day, though after It Is over 
winter sets In with renewed severity. At other times 
It is the Image of the fire-god that Is carried round, 
to show him the buildings he Is honoured to protect. 
Then, again, one evening there will be about four miles 
of little lanterns sent floating down the great river in 
honour of the dead. Or there will be the baking of 
the glutinous rice-cakes, accompanied by many curious 
ceremonials. y\nd in It all the child takes his part ; and 
his elders are very kind to him, and never bother him 
with cleaning up or putting on clothes to go out. He 


-^ Chinese Children 

strips to the waist or beyond it in summer ; then, as 
the winter comes on, puts on ever another and another 
garment, till he becomes as broad as he is long. At 
night-time, perhaps, he takes off some clothes ; but they 
are all the same shape, all quite loose and easy. Then 
he never need be afraid of breaking anything or spoiling 
anything ; for most things are put away, and Chinese 
things are not like European : the shining black polished 
table, for instance, can have a hot kettle stood upon it, 
and be none the worse. No one ever tells the Chinese 
child to hold himself up, or not to talk so loud, or 
to keep still ; so he shouts and wriggles to his heart's 
content. And European children grow like him in 
this respect ; and when readmitted to European houses, 
their feet are for ever rubbing about, and their hands 
fidgeting with something, which spoils, as European 
things will spoil. 

Although there is so much rain in the west of China, 
and when it does not rain the air is generally damp to 
saturation-point, yet sometimes there is a long continu- 
ance of summer heat. One year, although according 
to the Chinese calendar the ending of the great heat had 
come — and, indeed, also the beginning of autumn, when, 
if it does not "rain, according to the saying, no rain 
will fall for forty days — yet no rain fell, no thunder 
cooled the air. The ground was growing harder 
and harder, and the hills acquiring the yellow 
baked look so familiar down-river, but so unusual in 

The south gate was not closed. The idea is, that 


Intimate China ^ 

heat comes in from the south ; therefore, when it is 
too hot, the south gate is always closed. There was, 
however, too much traffic through it. But no meat, 
fowls, nor eggs were allowed to go in thereat, and 
the various cooks and coolies sent in on foraging 
excursions from the hills returned disconsolate. If 
any one sold anything, it was with the air of a thief, 
one man reported. Europeans were beginning to con- 
sider what they would have to eat, if this prohibition 
were strictly enforced. Already for two days the 
killing of pigs had been forbidden. Outside most 
houses in the city stood a tub of water ready to be 
dashed over the too dry woodwork. Already report 
had been busy destroying the thriving and populous 
city of Luchou higher up the river by fire ; but on a 
telegram being sent to inquire, the report was found to 
have arisen in people's own heated imaginations. The 
danger of fire is ever with us in China, with our 
wooden houses all dry as tinder and our closely 
packed opium-smoking population. As to the amount of 
dirt then concentrated in Chungking, it was shocking 
to think of; for the place had not been washed out 
for six weeks. 

There is an old saying that drought never wrought 
England barm. One has the same feeling in Szechuan ; 
and when day by day the beautiful red-golden glow 
spreads along the range beyond range of mountain-tops, 
and the sun arises upon a cloudy sky, we cannot help 
thinking these clouds must gradually get lower, and 
rain come to cool the air and refresh the country. At 


■^ Drought 

night, as we see the lightning flash on the clouds south 
and west of us, and feel the cool breath of distant 
rain, we again think it must be on its way. Only 
during the long hot day there seems no prospect of 
it ; the clouds reveal themselves as summer clouds ; 
the sun shines ; and we think how hot it must be in 
that southern region from which the hot wind comes 
to us, and wonder whether it is in Tongking, or where, 
there has been a tremendous rainfall. Has there been 
somewhere some great convulsion of nature } or is it 
again all a case of sun-spots ? When it is so very 
hot, what can one think of but the weather ? 

I never saw the thermometer mark higher than 
120° Fahr. in our sitting-room ; but then, when it got to 
that, I always went down into the cellar, and did not 
come out again till evening. The Chinese have cool, 
dark places dug out of the rock into which they retire 
to schwa, i.e. enjoy themselves. All the guild gardens 
round Chungking are provided with such places. The 
worst of them is, there is no air in them. But, then, 
every one has a fan. Even the man heavily laden like 
a beast of burden has his fan stuck into his waist- 
belt ; the soldier has his fan. It is not a luxury, but 
a necessary of life, in a Chinese city in summer. 

In the spring-time what can be prettier than the 
environs of a Chinese city .^ The rape-fields are all 
fragrant with their bright-yellow flowers ; whilst the 
still sweeter scent of the bean blossom makes it a real 
pleasure to walk along the narrow paths by the river- 
side. Every one is walking about with a bunch of 


Intimate China 


A LHl^EbE tOLMlvV lLL L. OR uliiL' ^^ARDEN. 
By Mrs. Archibald Lilile. 

roseate peach blossom, and the tangles of trees in the 
gardens are all flowering and all scented. Then a little 
later the poppy-fields become gorgeous almost up to 
the city gates, only shortly afterwards to give out a 
poisonous exhalation most irritating to the mucous 
membrane. After that everything trembles and glitters 
with the scorching sunshine, all the leaves droop, gigantic 


Flowers and Opium 

sun-flowers are running to 
seed, and the large pink-and- 
white lily flowers of the 
lotus float upon the water- 
side. Every woman has a 
white gardenia flower stuck 
on the left side of her 
glossy black hair. And all 
outside the city is inspirit- 
ing, when the sun shines and 
the blue rivers laugh back 
at the blue sky. But inside 
the city it is stifl all dark and 
dank, and all is pervaded by 
a sickly sweet odour, the 
emanation from the opium- 
pipe; while the lean ribs and 
yellow faces of the opium- 
smokers controvert without 
the need of words all the 
scientific assertions about 
the non-volatilisation of the 
opium poison. With opium- 
dens all over the place, 
with exquisite opium-pipes 
and all the coquetries of 
opium-trays and other accessories in the houses of the 
rich, how is it that we all give warning to a servant 
when we hear that he has taken to opium? How 
is it that the treasure on a journey is never confided 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

Intimate China ^ 

to a coolie who smokes? How is it that every man 
shrinks with horror from the idea of an opium-smoking 
wife ? And this in a land in which all important 
business dealings are concluded over the opium-couch, 
where, indeed, alone, with heads close together, is 
privacy to be obtained, and in which all important 
military posts are confided to opium-smokers, not to 
speak of most of the important civil offices ! 

There is, it is true, an immense difference between 
the man who smokes and him who has the yin, or 
craving, that must at all costs be satisfied ; just as there 
is at home between the moderate drinker and the 
dipsomaniac. But in China people refuse to employ the 
moderate smoker to sweep out their rooms for them. 
Yet they will confide an army to him ! These, how- 
ever, are secrets of State, not to be got to the bottom 
of simply by life in a Chinese city. 

There is one other matter, however, I must touch 
upon — the all-pervading babble, row I had almost called 
it, of the boys in the schools, here, there, and every- 
where, so that it is almost impossible to get out of 
earshot of them, all at the top of their boy voices 
shouting out the classics, as they painstakingly day 
after day and year after year commit them to mernory. 
With the sickly sweet smell of the opium, and to the 
sound of the vast ear-drum-splitting army of China's 
schoolboys, all must for ever associate life in a Chinese 
city. And through it all, and up and down its fiights 
of stairs, painfully hobbles the Chinese girl-child, the 
most ungraceful figure of all girl-children, — poor little 


-^ Chinese Girl-child 

mutilated one, with her long stick and dreadful dark 
lines under her sad young eyes ! Whatever the men 
may be, certainly the little girls of China are brought 
up as Spartans even never were, and those who survive 
show it by their powers of endurance. 




Sulphur Bath. — Rowdy Behaviour. — Fight in Boat. 
— Imprisonment for letting to Foreigners. — Book- 
keeper in Foreign Employ beaten. — Customs Regu- 
lations. — Kimberley Legacy. — Happy Consul. — 
Unjust Likift Charges. — Foreigners massacred. — 
Official Responsibility. 

A S an illustration of the position of Europeans 
/i. up-country, I will relate very briefly the trivial 
events of two days. First I must say that nearly every 
woman in the place was ill — some very seriously so ; and 
as I thought I was not well either, on hearing that my 
husband and another gentleman, who had gone for a 
cure to the sulphur baths about thirteen miles from 
Chungking, found the people quiet, I decided I would 
join my husband when his friend left him. The villagers, 
not the priests, objected to my sleeping in the airy 
temple, where the gentlemen had been allowed to put 
up their beds, amongst all the gilded images ; so my 
bed and I and a servant moved down to the inn, where 
some twelve or fifteen persons assisted at the remaking 
of the bed in an already sufficiently stuffy room — 
although, happily, most of the dirty paper was gone 
from its one window — and being accustomed to the ways 


^ Attacked by Agriculturists 

up-country, I slept just as well in that filthy inn room 
as I could have anywhere. 

Next day, with a chair and a variety of coolies 
and boys, we took three photographs, and spent the 
morning under the shade of a magnificent banyan- 
tree in a lonely valley, stuck over with palms as a 
pincushion is with pins. The baths were so very hot, 
my husband thought he would refresh himself by a 
swim in the limpid stream that runs with many a beauti- 
ful cascade down the extremely picturesque limestone 
valley of the Wentang. Meanwhile, though it was 
extremely hot, so that it was an effort to move, especially 
after the hot sulphur baths, yet, being like Frederick 
'* a slave to duty," I took a chair and ^vq coolies to 
go a hundred yards across the bridge and photograph 
that and the hot springs from the opposite side. 

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, about twenty 
little laughing boys ran whooping along with me, joined 
as they went by some older people. This is so usual, 
I was only bored by it as I got out, and, studying 
the scene first from one point and then from another, 
was telling the coolies to bring the camera to a grassy 
plot from which the best view of the arches of the 
bridge and the deep pool and the hills behind could 
be obtained, when some agriculturists rushed forward, 
one lusty fellow violently threatening me with a stone, 
and at once snatching my alpenstock out of my hand. 
I trust I did not move an eyelid, certainly I did not 
budge a step, as I said: " Is this your land? If so, 
you are master here ; and if you do not wish me to 


Intimate China ^ 

photograph, I certainly will not. But I am doing no 
harm." The head coolie did his best to explain what 
other photographs I had taken, and that photographing 
did not spoil crops. But the agriculturist first listened, 
and then resumed his violence. Probably he was 
excited by the prospect of all my following capering 
across an infinitesimal bit of cultivation that he had 
squeezed out of the rocks below. He told them not to 
do so. The coolie told them not to. They did not. 
But he continued to be violent. The best plan seemed 
to be to get into the chair and secure the camera ; and 
as all the crowd began to get uproarious, I thought I 
would be carried quickly away instead of back through 
them. A very steep hill must, I thought, choke my 
following off But it did not. And I had either to return 
with them to the town, in which case there was sure 
to be a row, or go to a distance of about two hours up 
one side of the stream by a very pretty path, and back 
again the other side by one of the most lonely of wild 
mountain roads. I had done it all before, having enjoyed 
all these scenes two years ago, when there was no 
thought of violence. However, my following kept with 
me, and grew. So I tried my old plan, the only one 
I have ever found effectual with a Chinese crowd, and, 
getting out of the chair, standing quite still, looked 
solemnly and sadly at first one, then another, till he 
wished the ground would cover him and retired. I 
fancy glasses heighten the effect. Anyway, they all 
sat down, each one hiding behind the other as far as 
he could. 


^ A Dead Magician's House 

We went on, and thus came near a very large 
Chinese house and garden, with a queer tale of a dead 
magician, where we had been hospitably entertained 
two years before. The people knew he had been a 
magician, because he used to disappear every day at 
a certain hour ; and some one peeped through a crack 
one day, and saw him actually in a cold-water bath 
like a fish. I thought it would be a pleasure to 
visit the garden once more ; but again a man shouting 
and gesticulating, this time armed with one of those 
heavy hoes they use in digging, which he brandished 
across my face ! It seemed his master, who had enter- 
tained us, was dead, and this rustic would have no 
photography. It was a long way back by the other 
side of the river, so that it was quite dark when we 
got back to the little town. This perhaps was just 
as well. 

Next day by daybreak we set off for Chungking. 
After five pretty but surely very long miles, we came 
to a market town ; and, alas ! it was market day. The 
coolies were desired to carry me to the best inn, and 
take me in quickly. Of course, it was necessary for 
them to ^et some refreshment, or we should not have 
stopped. I walked to the farthest end of the huge 
room set out with tables ; but the agitated innkeeper 
asked me to come into a bedroom beyond, there 
were so many people. He banged to the doors, and 
then there began a hurly-burly, everybody wanting to 
get a sight of me. He begged me to go into a bed- 
room beyond down a steep ladder, and again bolted 


Intimate China ^ 

the doors. This room was even nastier than the 
first, — four beds with straw, no chair, and a frowsy 
table. It was so good of him to tell me it was clean, 
for I should never have imagined it otherwise. A 
young gentleman occupying an adjacent bedroom began 
to look furious at the noise and the barring of the 
doors. With a haughty air he unbarred them. I 
did not wonder he did not like it. I did not either. 
Who wants to be barricaded in a chairless, windowless 
bedroom on a hot day ? 

It was a great relief when my husband quickly 
followed me, passing in through the files of people 
gazing at closed doors. But no one could serve us 
with tea, and the people got all round the room trying 
to peep in through the cracks, as also to pull down 
one partition. Meantime, there was what Germans 
call *' scandal." At last our coolies had fed, the chairs 
were ready, and, handsomely escorted, we passed out 
through people in rows, to find the street outside and 
all the houses one living mass of human heads all 
staring. It was easy enough to get into the chair, 
but the coolies had to fight the crowd back to get 
the poles on their shoulders ; and so, amongst a chorus 
of the usual soft Szechuan imprecations, we departed. 
I have composed a song with it for the chorus ; it 
sounds pretty, but I am told it is untranslatable. One 
moves everywhere to the music of it. 

Probably our coolies' temper was not improved by 
the hustling. For, a mile and a half farther on, when 
we had to take a boat, and after the usual amount of 


Lent by Mr. Willett. 

-^ A Village Uproar 

wearisome bargaining had secured one, they greeted 
a boatman, who kept us waiting some time till he 
appeared with the long pole iron-spiked used for poling 
the boat off rocks, with the usual Szechuan oath, and 
a tag, that seemed to me harmless enough. But the 
boatman, a tall, fine-looking man, said he could not 
stand that, and immediately rolled one of our coolies 
in the mud. In a minute all our gang together were 
on him. Vainly did my husband call them off At last, 
however, somehow they got into the boat again and 
pushed off; and the great thing seemed to be to get 
away, for there was the infuriated giant with his pole 
and his friends wildly springing from rock to rock to 
get at us. But whether because we were caught in a 
whirlpool, or whether the owner of the boat steered it 
back, or what, there we were presently drifting round 
to the now assembled village, all shrieking, and many 
armed with carrying-poles. The only thing to do 
seemed to be to sit quite still ; but I felt the more 
frightened, because it was impossible even to speak to 
my husband for the uproar. And, indeed, for a time 
mine was the silence of despair ; for a tap from one 
of those carrying-poles, and all would be over for me, 
whilst the river was running so strongly, to get into 
that would be certain drowning. The fight, however, 
was, after all, not so bad ; for a village elder appeared, 
and again and again collared the infuriated giant and 
forced him off the boat. Meanwhile, every one shouted, 
and the expressions of the crowd were something 
horrible to see, especially those of some women, whose 


Intimate China ^ 

faces seemed to have passed away and left nothing 
behind but concentrated rage. One of these viragoes 
actually came on to our boat, and was proceeding herself 
to capture the one of our coolies who may be said to 
have begun it all by his inconsiderate language. This 
first gave me courage. If she, a thin, weak-looking 
v/oman, could venture into the midst of these angry 
men, she must know they were not really so violent 
as they appeared, I argued. But she also was forced 
away by the elder. Then two spitfires of boys became 
prominent, shrieking menaces and brandishing their 

At last there was a sufficient lull for my husband 
and the village elder to exchange names, smiles, and 
courtesies, which they did with as much ceremony and 
as pleasant expressions as if they had just met in a 
London drawing-room. After a second row, the elder 
asked us to get into another boat. This we did. It 
was much smaller ; but a man with cucumbers, who 
had been bent on getting a passage for nothing in 
our boat, and had been ejected, managed now to 
establish himself in it along with us. He was the only 
one who seemed to have gained anything out of the 
whole transaction. We had grown too weak to eject 
him again. We had been delayed a w^hole hour in a 
burning sun ; and thanks to this, and the delay in the 
market town, reached Chungking about noon, both 
suffering from slight sunstroke. 

Each time the mail came in one winter we expected 
to hear that some Shanghai Volunteers had gone on a 

1 08 

-^ Selling or Letting to Foreigners 

little expedition, and somehow managed to knock up 
against the prison in which the poor people were shut 
up whose sole crime was having sold an estate near 
Kiukiang to an Englishman. In the old days the young 
men of Kiukiang once had a picnic, to which they 
invited blue-jackets from a man-of-war in port ; and that 
picnic gained for the place undisputed possession of 
the bungalow where so many Europeans have since 
then regained health. There was no fighting, no threat 
of fighting, no ultimatum; they just went and did what 
had to be done themselves, their friends the blue-jackets 
helping them. But by the last accounts Kiukiang 
was occupied with private theatricals, whilst the men 
who sold their land to Englishmen — nothing more, only 
had dealings with Englishmen — were still in prison. 
Whilst that is so, whilst the man who allowed Christian 
services to be held in his house near Wenchow is 
persecuted, whilst our beautiful hills are all studded 
round with upright slabs of stone forbidding Europeans 
to build upon any of the sites sold to them, how can 
we expect as Englishmen to be respected in China ? 
One American and one Englishman had even begun 
building upon these hills. There were the projected 
sites of the houses, with the hewn stones lying round 
and the foundations laid. Round about the upright 
slabs have been stood up, with the* legends upon them 
forbidding any further building within these charmed 

No people like better to insult other people than 
the Chinese, in spite of all the lovely adjectives Mr. 


Intimate China ^ 

Ralph showers upon them in the pages of Harper, — 
''polite, patient, extremely shrewd, well dressed, 
graceful, polished, generous, amiable " ; while Dr. 
Morrison, the "■ Australian in China," talks of '' their 
uniform kindness and hospitality and most charming 
courtesy," and says again, '' Their friendliness is charm- 
ing, their courtesy and kindliness are a constant delight 
to the traveller." In illustration of all this there were 
these men in prison at Kiukiang and Wenchow. Do 
people at home realise what was the crime of which 
they had been accused? Short of the Home Govern- 
ment, it often seems as if the different European 
communities in China could make themselves more 
respected, and protect those who dealt fairly by them, 
with their own right hands. No Government could 
urge them to do so. But, as even Sir John Walsham 
used to say, " There are so 7nany things Englishmen 
might do even in Peking — if they only would not 
come and ask me if they might." 

In 1897 ^ Chinese in foreign employ was had up 
about an alleged debt of 500 taels. By a bribe his 
accuser had the matter brought before a magistrate who 
was well known as anti-foreign, and who no sooner 
heard he was in foreign employ than he ordered him 
to be beaten without going into the case. This was 
contrary even to Chinese law. The unfortunate book- 
keeper was unable to do his work again for months ; 
he was disfigured past all recognition, and, indeed, 
too horrible to look upon. His offence was "foreign 
employ." Can we wonder that the Chinese are not 

-»i Other Nations enforce their Claims 

very fond of us ? The marvel to me is that they 
dare associate with us at all. 

Other nations seem to protect their nationals and 
those dependent upon them far more vigorously than 
the British Government does. When Chungking was 
first made a Treaty Port, the then British Consul, a 
most able and energetic man, was not even advised 
from Peking that the port was open. Consequently, 
he was absent from all public functions instituted at 
the formal opening, took no part in the drawing 
up of the regulations under which British trade was 
to be established there, had no voice in the rules 
issued by the Chinese Customs. Subsequent incum- 
bents of the Consulate have not unnaturally employed 
any liberty of action given them less in promoting 
British interests than in keeping things quiet for the 
Chinese, and so have refrained from endorsing the 
requests made from time to time to have the obstructive 
Customs rules modified or the position of the port 
in any way improved. The rules, issued in Chinese, 
were so impracticable that successive Commissioners 
•of Customs suspended their action from the day they 
were published ; but this suspension, it afterwards 
appeared, was a privilege revocable at the arbitrary 
will of the Commissioner for the time being, and an 
American Commissioner revoked them to the detriment 
of the only bona-fide European shipping firm as yet 
established there, thus doing what lay in his power 
to take away business from European firms and 
throw it into the hands of the Chinese firms, which 

T.13 I 

Intimate China <«- 

continued as before to enjoy a suspension of the 
Customs rules. 

Business at Chungking is all carried on by so-called 
chartered junks. They are not really chartered ; but 
before they can clear the Customs, they must fly a foreign 
house-flag and number. The permission to fly this must 
be obtained by a foreigner through his Consul. The 
British Consul, up till then the only one there, resided 
at the opposite end of the city to the business quarter,, 
where the Customs Office is situated. This entailed 
some hours delay. And when it is considered that one 
junk carries as a rule from fifty to a hundred packages 
only, it " passeth the wit of man " to conceive why 
this red-tapeism was allowed to continue. The China 
Merchants Steamship Co., the largest shippers in 
Chungking, were allowed to obtain their " passes "" 
from the Custom-house direct — a great convenience,, 
as the Custom-house Is in one part of this city, 
the Customs' Bank in another, and the examining- 
pontoon across the river at the head of a rapid. 
The junks mostly lie in a reach below ; and it is. 
no exaggeration to say that it takes a day for a 
man to get round to the three places. Yet the 
Customs rules do not allow the duty to be paid until 
the cargo has passed examination at the pontoon ; 
nor is the cargo-boat allowed to leave It until a. 
duty-paid certificate is brought back and exhibited 
at the pontoon. This necessitates the cargo being 
left in an open boat all night at the head of a rapid, 
and much loss has resulted from the delay that occurs 


-^ Consular Inaction 

there In any case. Consequently, this rule had never 
been enforced, and the cargo-boat had been allowed 
to leave and proceed to load the chartered junk in 
safety immediately after examination. But an applica- 
tion to his Consul by the Britisher was met by a 
"despatch" In the stereotyped language, '* I cannot 
Interfere with the Customs regulations." 

The telegraph office, formerly situated In the business 
quarter of the city, was then moved Into the distant 
country enclosure which forms a part of all Chinese 
cities, because the manager owned a piece of land 
there, and thus rented It to advantage. Naturally here 
the foreign merchant could not expect a remonstrance 
to be of any avail, as the telegraph Is a purely native 

It would take too much space to enumerate the 
further difficulties to which a foreigner Is at present 
exposed. To enforce a claim for debt he must apply 
to his Consul. A Chinaman unwilling to pay is never 
at a loss to Invent an excuse, — the papers are not in 
order, just as In cases of sale the land was not really 
his. If the Consul is content to become merely the 
translator of these Chinese excuses, which by trans- 
mission he appears, Indeed, even to accept, and to a 
certain extent to endorse, we, as the farmer said, " seem 
to get no forrader." How far the actions of Consuls 
in these matters, and with regard to obstructions about 
buying land and renting houses, come from Individual 
action or from instructions from Peking, of course It 
Is not for a mere woman to decide. We used In China 


liitimate China ^ ■- 

at one time to put down everything that went wrong 
to Lord Kimberley. Now even sometimes we fancy' 
it is a Kimberley legacy. , But very likely we are 
quite wrong. 

It will be, obvious from the above how much dependsi 
iupon the disposition of the Consuls. Naturally they 
A^-ary greatly. The theory used to be that they were 
too apt to look upon themselves as protectors of the 
Chinese against the encroachments , of their nationals. 
Having suffered severely under the most flagrant 
specimen of this class, I am happy to add that I think; 
it Is dying out. Most of the Consuls In China, nowi 
seem only too able for the importance of their posts.; 
At the same time, one never knows when a crisis mayj 
arise ; and then the men, who as- a rule have been^ 
foremost In all the social life each of his own port, 
are admirably seconded by willing communities, that 
rejoice to follow the lead of those who are certainly 
generally In all things the opposite to the delightful 
caricature sketch well known to have been written by a 
leading member of the China Consular body: 


Who is the happy Consul ? Who is he 
That each aspiring sub. should wish to be ? 
He who, behind inhospitable doOr, 
Plays, like Trafalgar founts, from ten to four ; 
Takes Rip Van Winkle as a type to follow, 
And makes his Consulate a Sleepy Hollow, 
■ Content to snooze his lazy hours away, 
Sure of a pension and his monthly pay 

-»i British Minister, or Foreign Office ? 

So he can keep on good terms with his Chief, 
Lets meaner interests come to utter grief ; 
Treats with smooth oil august Legation nerves, 
With vinegar the pubHc whom he serves. 
Each case through native spectacles he sees, - 
Less Consul than Protector of Chinese ; 
Trembles at glances from Viceregal eyes. 
And cowers before contemptuous Taotais ; 
But should mere nationals his aid implore, 
Is quite the haughty personage once more. 
Lives on the bounty of the public's purse, 
Yet greets that public with a smothered curse ; 
• With scowls that speak of anything but pleasure, 

Daunts ill-advised invaders of his leisure ; 
From outward signs of courtesy exempt. 
Treats their just protests with a fine contempt ; 
Does little, strives to make that Httle less, 
And leads a life of cultured uselessness. 
Such is the happy Consul. Such is he 
That each aspiring sub. should wish to be." 

Even, however, where the Consul is all he should 
be — and probably no body of men ever was more 
respected and trusted than the British Consular Body 
in China — yet British subjects' interests must suffer, if 
the British Minister will not support them. Nor can 
the British Minister do much, if the permanent officials 
at the Foreign Office wish him to do little. 

When two men were murdered at Wusiieh, the 
village ought, at least, to have been razed to the ground. 
When the Kucheng massacre occurred, the Viceroy and 
the Chinese officials, who laughed about it all as they 
talked with the British officials sent to settle about 
compensation with them, ought one and all to have 
been degraded at the very least. No one likes blood- 


Intimate China ^ 

shed. The Chinese only get on as they do without 
an army or a poHce force by means of very exemplary 
punishments ; they understand slight punishment as 
a confession of weakness, or an acknowledgment that 
the offender was not so much to blame after all. Nor 
does any one who lives in China believe in Chinese 
peasantry ever daring to murder foreigners except at 
the instigation of men in high place. People in England 
often fancy missionaries are very much disliked in 
China. As a rule, they seem greatly liked and respected 
each in his own neighbourhood, although in the abstract 
officials and old-fashioned literati may object to them. 

Whatever may be said about all these matters, 
an English subject cannot but be pained on finding 
how little British Consuls are able to effect in re- 
dressing serious grievances, such as inability to buy 
or rent land in the surrounding country, whereby we 
were for many years forcibly compelled to live in a 
Chinese house in a filthy street inside the walls of 
an overcrowded Chinese city. Let a Frenchman or 
a Russian be the aggrieved party, and instantly his 
Consul is on the war-path, and the Chinese have to 
give way at once. Englishmen have gone on paying 
likin illegally, until a Frenchman, backed by his Consul, 
successfully protested. British steamers are illegally 
arrested and detained by the Chinese Imperial Maritime 
Customs, and no redress is obtainable ; when a French 
steamer is only boycotted by Chinese shippers, an 
indemnity is immediately claimed, and at once paid. 

It is little things like these, for ever being repeated, 


^ Inconvenience of being English ! 

that lead to Englishmen in the west of China often 
saying they must take out naturalisation papers as 
Frenchmen or Italians in order to get on. Possibly 
the bitterness thereby engendered will do the British 
Government no harm ; but it paralyses commercial 
enterprise. And Manchester will suffer from it, when 
it is too late to alter anything, unless a more consistent 
and dignified policy be pursued in the Far East. People 
have not been proud of England out in China lately. 
It may be stupid of us all ; but as a rule it takes 
a good deal to make Englishmen ashamed of their 
country. And that point has been unfortunately reached 
some time ago. 




Taels. — Dollars. — Exchange. — Silver Shoes. — Foreign Mints. 

^HE was not long out from England, and a comprador 
order was as yet an unnatural phenomenon to her. 
She supposed it was something like a cheque upon a 
bank, or a circular note, with which Continental travel 
had made her intimately acquainted. *' What is the 
value of a dollar in English money ? " she had asked 
before starting on her tour from Shanghai. '' Oh yes, 
I understand it depends upon the exchange. I used 
always to keep myself in gloves on what one gained 
in Italy. Now it is horrid ; one gains nothing. I don't 
quite know why it is. But how much abottt is the 
dollar worth, when exchange is — is — nothing parti- 
cular ? " Then she had such long speeches made to 
her, and heard so much conflicting information, she felt 
deafened, but ultimately arrived at the conclusion that 
there were about — yes ! about six dollars in an English 
pound, and there ought not to be so many. Now, 
somewhat to her consternation, she discovered that her 
comprador orders had taels printed upon them ; so she 
made out her order in taels, secretly wondering what 
they were. She had never seen them. 

1 20 

-^ Taels or Silver Shoes 

''Do you think I got the right exchange?" she 
asked of her Boy ; then, trying to suit herself to his 
needs, and speak English ''as it is spoke," "He pay 
my right money ? " 

"My no savey what thing one taelee catchee 
Hankow side," said the Boy, with flippancy but decision. 
He came from farther inside the province. 

She felt abashed, and supposed she must just take 
her money, hoping it was right. Next time she would 
be wiser. Arrived at Ichang, she scratched out taels, 
and was about to write in dollars. 

"Dollars! Dollars aren't known at Ichang," said 
the Captain. 

"What had I better do?" she asked of the oldest- 
resident. Again she was overwhelmed with words. 
But she gathered she ought to ask for taels. 

" Taels don't exist," said the Captain. " I never 
saw a tael, did you ? He'll bring you your money in 
lumps of silver, if you don't take care." 

"Yes," said the old resident, "you had better not 
get lumps of silver." 

" They vary in value, according to the quality of 
the silver," persisted the Captain. "You won't know 
what to do with them. You can't break them up. 
You will have to weigh them. And what can you 
pay for in lumps of silver ? Nobody will take them 
for anything you want to buy." 

They actually both talked to her as if she wished 
for solid, uncoined lumps of silver. She felt con- 
founded ! But, determined to preserve her calm, she 


Intimate China ^ 

said, " I had better write, and say I want so many 
■strings of cash, then, had I ? Ten thousand cash ? 
Twenty thousand cash ? I can't carry them, you know ; 
and I don't know where I can keep them. But I 
must have at least so much money in hand, if it is 
only to pay for my washing." 

" Pay for your washing ! " they both burst out, as 
if that were a most superfluous proceeding. 

" I wouldn't write for cash, I think," began a third 
adviser. '' I would write down how many taels you 
require, and say you'd take it in cash." 

''Then I shall never know if I get the right amount." 

'' A — h ! " they all said, waving their hands, as if no 
one ever did know if he got the right amount in China. 

'' It varies. It varies from day to day," said the 
oldest resident. 

Needless to relate, she never saw those cash, never 
heard how many she had received, nor where they 
were stowed away. The Boy said he had them, it 
was all right. He said also that at Ichang it was 
very shocking how few cash they gave for the tael. 

She was determined she would learn Chinese, of 
course ! Was she not just out from home ? And being 
just out from home, and anxious to be polite to every 
one, it was a trouble to her mind that she did not 
know how to greet her teacher when he came. She 
stood up, and rubbed her hands together, which she 
understood was the Chinese for a curtsey ; but it seemed 
feeble without a word, so she said, " Koom Shee ! Koom 
Shee ! " as she had heard the country people say. 


-^ Chinese Greetings 

'* Oh ! you should not say Koom Shee ! Koom Shee ! 
Not to a teacher, who comes every day," said a 

" He says it is quite right," said she. " I am sure 
1 understand that much. But he said I could also 
say Tsao ! " 

" Oh no — no! Not Tsao,'' said the Sinologue ; but 
he never made any suggestion as to what she should say. 

'' I could not think what I ought to say when he 
went away," she continued. " But he says Man man 

'' Oh no ! that is a great deal too much to a teacher 
who comes every day." 

" Well, that is what he says," she repeated rather 
wearily, after having waited a little to see if he would 


Intimate China 


suggest any polite speech for her. "I do want to say 
something polite." 

''It is very difficult to be polite in Chinese," said 
the Sinologue solemnly. That seemed final. But she 
asked another Sinologue. *' No, I should not say Man 
man tso. Not Man man tso,'' said he dreamily. '' Not 
to a teacher — who comes every day." 

*' But what do you say ? " asked she in desperation. 

'' Well, it is very polite to say Skao pei — I don't gO' 
to the door with you, you know ; I only go a few steps 
with you. That is the polite thing to say after a call 
from a mandarin." 

"■ But surely it would be polite to go to the door ? " 

*' Oh yes — in China it would." 

'' Well, I think anywhere it would h^politey 

"Yes, but not — not from a lady. It would not be 

''A — h ! yes! then I can say Skao pei.'' However, 
she did not feel quite satisfied, and she watched her 

Next time she heard a Sinologue converse with a 
Chinaman, she listened to hear what he would say in. 
parting. Alas ! it was not Man mail tso, it was not 
Skao pei. 

" What was that you said to him in taking leave ? " 

" Oh^-I didn't say anything," — with the instinctive 
horror of being detected in possibly a false tone. 

" Yes — yes, you said something as you turned away 
and took leave. And I do so want to know what it 
was, that 1 may know what to say." 


^ ''I am to blame" 

*'Oh, I said " mumbling very much, so that it 

was impossible to hear what he said. '' I don't think 
it was the thing to say to a man of his station and 

•quality. I think I should have said Let me see — 

I really don't know what was the right thing for me 
to say." 

And so now she is giving it up — giving up being 
polite in Chinese, giving up ever ascertaining the 
value of money or the price of anything. For how 
can things have fixed prices where money has none ? 
There is only one comfort to her soul : if any one looks 
offended, or if a too sensitive conscience makes her 
fear she has given cause of offence, she promptly says 
Tetsui — " I am to blame, I apologise." No one has yet 
made distinctly evident that he does not understand 
.her, nor has any Sinologue yet told her she is wrong. 
Tetsui is therefore the one golden word for her. And 
while she is in China she foresees she must live in one 
constant state of being to blame. 

In this manner I at the time recorded my first 
impression of the coinage and language of China. But 
the matter of payment is even more complicated than 
I then fancied. The only coinage of China is copper 
cash, of which about forty go to a penny. They are 
round, with a hole in the middle, and generally about a 
thousand are strung on two strings and tied together ; 
and when carried, hanging over the shoulder, they look 
like^ so many snakes. But I say about a thousand 
.advisedly ; for there are generally a number of small 
and comparatively worthless cash in every string,, the 


Intimate China ^ 

average amount of these varying in different parts. 
The lumps of silver with which my friends threatened 
me are made up into what are called ''shoes," but 
what look like very large coarse thimbles. These are 
of various degrees of purity, and their purity has to- 
be tested before they are weighed or broken up. In 
Chungking there were three different degrees of purit)^ 
in different parts of the city ; therefore it made quite 
a considerable difference whether you agreed to pay 
a sum of money in the upper, lower, or middle town. 
And the result of so much difficulty about payment: 
is that every one is in debt to every one else, keeping" 
a sort of running account going. 

Of late years foreign mints have been started ia 
several places ; and lest this chapter should seenx 
altogether too frivolous, I here subjoin the essay that 
gained the prize, when, at the Polytechnic Institution, 
in 1890, the Governor of Ningpo started an essay 
competition, giving as his theme: 

'' The south-eastern prov^inces now have much 
foreign money in circulation, and the natives consider 
it a great convenience to trade. Should China set 
about coining gold and silver money? Would it circulate 
freely ? Would it be advantageous to the country, or 
the reverse ? " 

The Governor himself looked over the essays, and 
awarded the palm to the composition of Mr. Yang, 
a B.A. of Kwangtung Province, of which the following 
is a translation : 

*' Those who treat at the present time of the causes. 


-»5 Foreign Dollars 

which are draining away the wealth of China to 
foreign countries are, as a rule, in the habit of con- 
fining their observations to two of these causes : the 
importation of foreign opium, and the purchase of 
foreign ships and munitions of war. They appear to 
be ignorant, indeed, for the most part, that there is 
another cause at work, persistent, insidious, whose 
effects are more far-reaching than either. 

'' The first silver money brought to China from 
abroad was the so-called ' Luzon Dollar,' coined by 
the Spaniards from the product of the mines which they 
had acquired in America, a new country first settled 
by them. The Spanish dollar was followed by others 
made in the same style — first the American, and then 
the Japanese. From Kwangtung and Fukien these 
invaders spread to Kiangsu and Chekiang, Kiangsi, 
Anhui, and Hupeh, in the order named, with great 
rapidity. Their beauty and convenience were soon in 
everybody's mouth, and the loss to the country became 
heavier and heavier as their importation increased. 

''To speak of loss from the influx of foreign dollars 
may appear paradoxical to those who have only eyes 
for the palpable loss to the country caused by the 
importation of foreign opium and manufactures and 
the purchase of foreign ships and cannon. Very little 
reflection, indeed, suffices to show the disastrous tendency 
of exchanging for a useless weed the bounteous produce 
of our harvests, of deluding with new-fangled inventions 
the practical minds of our people, of spending on a 
gun or a ship tens of thousands of taels. But I shall 


Intimate China \ <*- > 

endeavour to show that the proposition is no paradox, 
and that the; loss to China caused by the influx of 
foreign dollars is, if less visible on the surface, at 
bottom non^ the less real. 

■' During the reigns of Tao Kwang and Hien Feng 
(1821 — 1862), to buy each of these dollars China parted 
with eighty-five tael cents; and as the real value was; 
seventy-two tael cents, on every dollar which she pur- 
chased she lost thirteen tael cents. As, taking all 
the provinces together, she must have been purchasing 
at least forty or fifty million dollars every year, she 
must have been losing every year by exchange the 
enormous, sum of four or five million taels. 
r "Times have changed; but vast numbers of dollarSi 
are yearly imported from various countries, most of 
them composed of one-tenth alloy; and, in payment, 
of this silver blended with baser metal, our pure silver, 
is shipped away in heaps. Moreover, dollars which, 
are worth at most seventy-two or seventy-three tael. 
cents are sold in market, at one, two, three, or four 
tael cents more than that. Such a drain will end in 
exhausting our silver supply, even if we had mountains, 
of it, if not checked betimes. 

"We cannot prevent the importation of foreign; 
dollars, nor prohibit their use by the people ; for the 
people wish for them,, although they are depleting the, 
country of its wealth. There appears to me only one 
way of checking this depletion, and that is by , China 
coining dollars herself - 

" Opponents will say, even if China coin them, they 


^ Home-made Dollars 

will not circulate. They will point to two previous 
instances where such an attempt was made and failed. 
The first was towards the end of the reign of Tao 
Kwang (about 1850): two officials obtained permission 
from the Governor of Chekiang to start a silver-mint, 
and everybody looked at the coins, rung them, and 
declined to have anything to do with them. The 
second experiment was made at Wusih by Mr. Lu 
Sueh-tsun : he turned out dollars which compared 
favourably with foreign dollars in every particular 
except one — namely, that nobody would use them. 
The opponents of the measure point to these two 
examples, and say the coinage of dollars in China will 
never succeed. 

'* Some of these opponents do not go so far, but 
merely say that, even if the Chinese Government is 
able to put home-made dollars into circulation, it can 
only be in the southern and eastern provinces, as in 
the north and west the people, accustomed to sycee 
and paper money, would shrink from the manifold 
inconveniences involved in a sudden change to a 
dollar medium of exchange. 

*' This appears to me more the language of narrow- 
minded pedants than of practical men of the world. 
Which one of all who stand under China's sky and feed 
off China's fields but desires his country's exaltation 
and the depression of foreigners ? If to-day all love 
foreign money, it is because there is as yet no Chinese 
money. Once let there be Chinese money, and we 
shall see how many will leave it for foreign. The 

129 K 

Intimate China ^ 

two instances alleged above only show that the coins 
which people looked at, rung, and rejected were false 
in look and false in ring. The semi-private way in 
which they were coined in a village was in itself 
enough to excite the suspicions of the great mass of 
the public. An Imperial Mint, openly conducted and 
turning out good work, would arouse no such suspicions ; 
and its money would very soon be current, not only 
in the provinces of the south and east, but also in those 
of the north and west, for the following reasons : 

'* The travelling merchant and trader of the north 
and west has now to carry with him both silver sycee 
and copper cash. Copper cash is heavy, and it is 
impossible to carry much value in that form ; whilst 
the carrying about of silver entails many and grievous 
losses in exchange. It is natural to suppose that he 
would welcome as the greatest boon a gold and silver 
currency which, by its portability and uniformity of 
value, would relieve him of the obstacles which the 
present system in vogue in the north and west spreads 
in the path of commerce. 

'' The opponents of an Imperial Chinese Mint for 
the precious metals commonly adduce four dangers, the 
contemplation of which, they say, should make China 
hesitate to incur them. Let us look them in the 
face. They are, firstly, the facility of counterfeiting 
the new coinage ; secondly, the difficulty of coinage, if 
commenced ; thirdly, the loss to China's prestige by an 
imitation of foreign manufactures ; fourthly, the possible 
venality of officials and workmen in the Mint. 


-^ Coining without Alloy 

'' Would it not be the depth of pusillanimity, the 
extreme of unreasonableness, for our great nation to 
give up, for fear of dangers such as these, a plan which, 
carried out under the guidance and control of well- 
selected men, will admittedly dam the outflow of our 
wealth, and put an end to our impoverishment, which 
is now going on year after year for the benefit of 
foreigners ? 

" The impossibility of coining the precious metals 
without alloy will no longer afford the foreigner a profit. 
This profit will go to our own Government, who will 
not be taking it from the people for nothing, but amply 
earning it by giving them a universal uniform medium 
of exchange. Its universality and uniformity will relieve 
the honourable merchant of the present uncertainty of 
exchange, and deprive the shifty speculator of his 
present inducement to gambling in time-bargains depen- 
dent on the rise and fall {inai k\tng). 

'' I began this essay by enumerating various evils 
which are sapping the wealth and power of China. 
How best to counteract these evils is a problem which 
our statesmen and politicians are now devoting their 
zealous endeavours to solve. The measures hitherto 
proposed involve, when compared with that which 1 
have advocated, a larger expenditure at the outset, and 
do not seem to promise in any instance so speedy 
a return of benefit to the nation. A gold and silver 
coinage by the Imperial Government would, in all 
probability, in a very few years be conferring on every 
province of the empire advantages in comparison with 


Intimate China ^ 

which the initial inconveniences would hardly be worthy 
of attention. It is, of course, an essential condition of 
the success of the Mint that it should be organised in 
such a complete manner as to leave no contingency 
unprovided for, and thus to ensure its stability and 
permanence. I shall be happy if any of my humble 
remarks are worthy to contribute to such a result." 

Mr. Yang's essay seems already to have borne fruit, 
and nothing could more check the little peculations so 
rife in China as a proper coinage of the same value all 
through the country. Yet such is the innate disorder 
and corruption attendant upon all Government under- 
takings in China, that, without the supervision of the 
despised "foreigner," all such schemes must fail in gain- 
ing the confidence of the people, as they have notably 
failed hitherto. While we were in Chungking, the 
Viceroy there introduced dollars coined by the Viceroy 
of Hupeh ; but as the local officials refused to take 
these dollars in payment of taxes except at a discount 
of 3 per cent., nominally for '' shroffage," the people 
naturally refused them, and they are now no longer to 
be seen. The Chinese prefer the Mexican dollar, 
firstly, because they are familiar with it ; secondly, 
because they can depend upon it. The statement in 
Mr. Yang's jejune essay that the Chinese give pure 
silver in exchange for foreign dollars containing lo per 
cent, alloy is, of course, absurd. Copper cash form the 
real currency of the masses in China, and it is the 
fluctuations between this, the only current coinage, of 
late years shamefully debased, and silver (amounting 


-»i Rival Mints 

in 1897 to 30 per cent.) that seriously disturbs the 
equanimity of " the honourable merchant." Unfor- 
tunately, so far each Viceroy seems to be setting 
up his own mint, irrespective of others. The idea 
of a Central Government, rrianaging the customs, posts, 
coinage, or even the army and navy, is altogether alien 
to the Chinese mind. 




Not a Mark of Rank. — Golden Lilies. — Hinds' Feet. 
— Bandages drawn tighter. — Breaking the Bones. — 
A Cleft in which to hide Half a Crown. — Mothers 
sleep with Sticks beside them. — How many die. — 
How many have all their Toes. — Feet drop off. — 
Pain till Death. — Typical Cases. — Eczema, Ulcera- 
tion, Mortification. — General Health affected. 

IT is a popular error in England to suppose that 
binding the feet is a mark of rank in China. In 
the west of China women sit by the roadside begging 
with their feet bound. In the far north, where women 
do field-labour, they do it, poor things ! kneeling on the 
heavy clay soil, because they cannot stand upon their 
poor mutilated feet. Another popular error in England 
is that the custom was introduced in order to prevent 
women from gadding about. Never in all the many 
conversations I have had with Chinese upon this 
subject have I heard this reason alleged or even 
hinted at, nor is it ever alluded to in any of the Chinese 
literature upon the subject. The popular idea in China 
is that P'an-fei, a favourite of the Emperor Ho-ti, of 
the Chi Dynasty, whose capital was Nanking, was so 



beautiful that golden lilies sprang out of the ground 
wherever she stepped; hence the name of "golden 
lilies" for the hideous goatlike feet Chinamen so 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

strangely admire. Ho-ti is said to have so loved 
P*an-fei as to have had golden lotus flowers strewn 
on her path for her to walk on. But there is another 
tradition that T'an-ki, the wife of the last Emperor 
of the Shang Dynasty, who in despair burned himself 


Intimate China ^ 

in his palace with all his treasures in 1120 b.c. — that 
T'an-ki was the introducer of these strange feet. She 
seems to have been a semi-mythical character — a 
changeling, with "hinds' feet" covered with hair. So 
she wound bandages round them, and wore lovely little 
fairy shoes, and every one else tried to follow suit. But 
to come to later and somewhat more historic times, a 
King of the Sung Dynasty, a.d. 970, had a favourite 
wife Niao-niang, whom he used to like to see posing or 
dancing upon golden lotus flowers. And to make her 
feet look more lovely she used to tie strips of coloured 
satin round them, till they resembled a crescent moon 
or a bent bow ; and thus the fashion began, some say. 

It is obvious, however, that a nation that has not 
stockings naturally takes to bandaging its feet, and that 
so doing, quite without intending it, it is very easy to 
alter the shape of the feet by binding them ever a 
little tighter, as many a European lady has done with 
her waist. Chinese civilisation being very ancient and 
conservative, abuses there go on increasing, and become 
exceptionally exaggerated. The Chinese are also as a 
nation curiously callous to suffering either in themselves or 
others, not taking pleasure in the infliction of it, as is the 
case with some more highly strung natures, but strangely 
indifferent to it. In all probability at first women 
simply bandaged their feet somewhat tightly. And just 
as a man in Europe used a little while ago to attach 
especial importance to a woman's being well shod and 
to the turn of her ankle, so did a Chinese man, till in 
the course of a thousand years we have arrived at the 


^ Two Years to run ! 

present abortions with a two-and-a-half-inch measure- 
ment, as also at all these stories of long dead and gone 
empresses and lotus flowers. 

The method of binding and the period of beginning 
naturally differ somewhat over the whole extent of this 
vast empire. In the west binding seems generally to 
begin at six years old. In the east it is generally from 
five to seven, or at the latest at eight, years of age. 
Tsai, the good-natured Governor of Shanghai, when I 
met him there at a dinner party at our Chief Justice's, 
looked across the table at me, and said in his some- 
what humorous, jerky voice, *' I know what you want 
to talk to me about. You want to talk to me about 
footbinding. It is very hard, is it not ? The poor 
little things have but two years to run." So that it 
would seem as if in his part of the country or in his own 
family binding began earlier. In the east of China the 
bandage is said to be of strong white cotton-cloth, two 
yards long and about three inches wide ; and I have 
generally seen a two yards long bandage. The cloth is 
drawn as tightly as the child can bear, leaving the great 
toe free, but binding all the other toes under the sole of 
the foot, so as to reduce the width as much as possible, 
and eventually to make the toes of the left foot peep 
out at the right side and the toes of the right foot at 
the left side of the foot, in both cases coming from 
underneath the sole. Each succeeding day the bandage 
is tightened both morning and night ; and if the bones 
are refractory, and spring back into their places on the 
removal of the bandage, sometimes a blow is given with 


Intimate China ^ 

the heavy wooden mallet used in beating clothes ; and 
possibly it is, on the whole, kinder thus to hasten 
operations. Directly after binding, the little girl is 
made to walk up and down on her poor aching feet, for 
fear mortification should at once set in. But all this is 



By Dr. E. Gamer. 

only during the first year. It is the next two years 
that are the terrible time for the little girls of China ; 
for then the foot is no longer being narrowed, but 
shortened, by so winding the bandages as to draw the 
fleshy part of the foot and the heel close together, till 
it is possible to hide a half-crown piece between them. 
It is, indeed, not till this can be done that a foot is 

^ Little Girls' Sufferings 

considered bound. During these three years the girl- 
hood of China presents a most melancholy spectacle. 
Instead of a hop, skip, and a jump, with rosy cheeks 
like the litde girls of England, the poor little things 


By Dr. E. Garner. 

are leaning heavily on a stick somewhat taller than 
themselves, or carried on a man's back, or sitting sadly 
crying. They have great black lines under their eyes, 
and a special curious paleness that I have never seen 
except in connection with footbinding. Their mothers 
mostly sleep with a big stick by the bedside, with which 



Intimate China ^ 

to get up and beat the little girl should she disturb 
the household by her wails ; but not uncommonly she 
is put to sleep in an outhouse. The only relief she 
gets is either from opium, or from hanging her feet 
over the edge of her wooden bedstead, so as to stop 
the circulation. 

The Chinese saying is, '' For each pair of bound 
feet there has been a whole ^ang-, or big bath, full of 
tears "; and they say that one girl out of ten dies of 
footbinding or its after-effects. When I quoted this 
to the Italian Mother Superior at Hankow, who has 
for years been head of the great Girls' School and 
Foundling Establishment there, she said, with tears 
in her eyes, " Oh no, no ! that may be true of the 
coast towns." I thought she was going to say it would 
be a gross exaggeration in Central China ; but to my 
horror she went on, " But more here — more — more." 
Few people could be in a better position to judge than 
herself; for until this year the little girls under her 
charge have regularly had their feet bound. As I have 
understood, there the bandages were only tightened 
once a week. The children were, of course, exempted 
from all lessons on those days ; and the Italian Sister 
who had to be present suffered so much from witnessing 
the little girls' sufferings that she had to be continually 
changed, no Italian woman being able to endure the 
pain of It week after week. Of course, the only reason 
they bound the children's feet was from anxiety about 
finding husbands for them In after-life, and from fear 
of parents not confiding their children to them unless 


-^ Toes and Feet drop off! 

they so far conformed to Chinese custom. But this 
year the good Mother has at last decided that public 
opinion has been sufficiently developed to make it 
possible for her to dispense with these hateful bandages. 
"Do you suppose I like them?" she said, the last 
time I saw her. " Always this question of new shoes 
of different sizes, according as the feet are made smaller ; 
always more cotton-cloth being torn into bandages : 
the trouble it all entails is endless — simply endless." 
This was a point of view I had never considered. But 
it is a comfort to think the good Mother is delivered 
from it ; for she wrote to me in the spring of 1898 
that she knew I should be glad to hear fifty little girls 
had just been unbound, and no more girls were to 
have their feet bound under her care. 

Dr. Reifsnyder, the lady at the head of the Margaret 
Williamson Hospital at Shanghai, says toes often drop 
off under binding, and not uncommonly half the foot 
does likewise. She tells of a poor girl's grief on 
undoing her bandage — " Why, there is half my foot 
gone ! " and how she herself had said to her that, 
with half her foot, and that half in good condition, 
she would be much better off than those around her. 
And so it has turned out. This girl walks better than 
most others. Her feet had been bound by a cruel 
mother-in-law ; and, according to Dr. Reifsnyder, of all 
cruel people a Chinese mother-in-law is the cruellest 
to the daughter-in-law under her keeping. The foot 
of another daughter-in-law, she knew, dropped off 
entirely under the process of binding. Another error, 


Intimate China 

Dr. Reifnysder points out, is that people often think 
that, after the first, binding does not hurt. She had 
in her employ a woman fifty years old ; and she knew 
that, after standing more than usual, this woman's 
feet would still bleed, as is not unnatural, when it is 
considered this woman, weighing one hundred and forty 
pounds, stood up in shoes two and a half inches 

Dr. Macklin of Nanking, on my asking him what 
sort of cases he had come across, he having the 
reputation of thinking many things more pressing than 
unbinding the feet of the women of China, at once 
told me of a little child of a poor family brought to 
his hospital with an ulcer that had begun at the heel, 
caused by the bandages. When he first saw the child, 
the ulcer extended half-way up to the knee ; and the 
child would have died of blood-poisoning in a few 
days, if she had not been brought to him. Another 
of his cases ended more sadly. The poor litde girl 
was the granddaughter of an ofhcial, her father a 
teacher. When only between six and seven, she was 
brought to the hospital, both her feet already black 
masses of corruption. Her relations would not allow 
her feet to be amputated ; so in a few months they 
dropped off! The stumps were a long time in healing, 
as the skin was drawn back from the bone. The child 
was taken home, gradually became weaker and weaker, 
and after a year and a half of suffering died. 

Dr. McCartney of Chungking mentions one case 
in which he was called in to a little girl. When he 


^ A Medical Opinion 

removed the binding, he found both feet hanging by 
the tendons only, with gangrene extending above the 
ankles. Immediate amputation was at once necessary ; 
but the unfortunate child will have to go through life 
without feet. The mother of the child was a confirmed 
opium-smoker, and her indifference had led to the result 
indicated. The two greatest curses in China are, in 
his opinion, opium-smoking and footbinding. Another 
case was an unmarried woman who had paralysis in 
both legs. She was treated by removing the bandages 
on her feet, by massage, and electric current. In less 
than a month she was able to walk. Her trouble 
was caused by nothing more or less than footbinding. 
He says the Chinese know nothing of the physiology 
and anatomy of the human body ; and this ignorance 
causes untold suffering to the women and children of 
China. Footbinding has nothing to recommend it 
but the dictates of a senseless fashion. Women with 
small feet are unable to stand still, but are continually 
swaying and taking short steps, like a person on tiptoe. 
He defies any Chinaman to tell him there is not great 
pain and discomfort in footbinding. Chinese women 
were disinclined to confess pain. To do so would be 
J>u hao i-su — indelicate. There is in a bound foot a 
space like that between the closed fingers and the ball 
of the thumb. This space does not touch the shoe, 
and is consequently soft and tender. Perspiration 
gathers there, and, unless kept extremely clean, eczema 
results, and finally ulceration and mortification. He had 
had several cases of double amputation. From the time 


Intimate China <«- 

the feet were bound until death, they caused pain and 
were liable to disease. Not only did these serious local 
troubles exist, but others occurred in the internal organs, 
and in many cases affected the offspring. 

It would require a medical work to describe the 
various maladies more or less directly traceable to 
binding. Let it suffice here to point out that when a 
Chinese woman walks it is on her heel entirely, and 
to suggest that the consequent jar to the spine and 
the whole body is very likely the cause of the internal 
maladies of women, so general, if not universal, in those 
regions where binding is generally practised. Lady 
doctors have already observed that in certain parts of 
China where binding is universal, whatever disease a 
woman may come to the hospital for, she is always 
afflicted with some severe internal trouble ; whereas 
in those parts where only a few bind, it is rare to find 
these same maladies. 




Church Mission's Action. — American Mission's 
Action. — Tien Tsu Hui. — Chinese Ladies' 
Drawing-room Meeting. — Suifu Appeal. — Kang, the 
Modern Sage. — Duke Kung. — Appeal to the Chinese 

TO turn to a cheerfuller subject. Although the 
Roman CathoHcs, the American Episcopal Church, 
and some other missionary bodies have in former days 
thought it wiser to conform to Chinese custom in the 
matter of binding, there have been other missionary 
bodies, that have for twenty years or more refused to 
countenance it. One or two examples of their methods 
of work will probably suffice. The Church Mission 
at Hangchow opened a school for girls in 1867, and 
in 1896 Mr. J. L. Stuart wrote : 

" The Mission undertook from the first to feed and 
clothe and care for the girls for about ten years ; and 
it was required that the feet of the girls should be 
unbound, and that they should not be compelled to 
marry against their own consent. The school opened 
with three scholars ; but the number soon increased 
to a dozen, and then to twenty, and after a few years 
to thirty, and then to forty, and for five years it has 
had fifty pupils. After the first few years, no solicita- 
tions were ever made for pupils, and they were not 

145 L 

Intimate China ^ 

taken under eight or ten years of age ; but there have 
always been more applicants than can be accommo- 
dated. For ten years the pupils have furnished their 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

own clothing and bedding, and a few have paid for 
their food. The superintendent of the school took the 
ground in the beginning that, as the Mission undertook 
to support and train the girls, it was not only a right 
but it was an obligation to require the girls to conform 
to rules that were considered right and proper as 
far as possible. The success of the school proves the 
wisdom of the stand taken at the time. The girls have 
a good yard in which to play, and no sprig of grass 


^ Missionary Match-making 

can make headway where their big feet go romping 
about, and their rosy cheeks and happy faces are in 
marked contrast to the average Chinese girl seen in 
the gtreet and in their homes. As the girls grow up 
and are ready to leave the school, in almost every case 
they have been claimed by some Christian young man 
who is not ashamed of their big feet. In the course of 
the past twenty-eight years many pupils have been sent 
out from this school ; but, so far as is known, none of 
them have ever attempted to rebind their daughters' feet." 
A letter from Kalgan in the far north shows very 
quaintly the difficulties encountered by an American 
lady missionary, evidently an ardent anti-footbinder : 

" Kalgan, China, September 2\th. 

" Anti-footbinding seems to be very much entangled 
with match-making on my part. I perhaps wrote about 
a little girl who came from four days' distance here to 
school, and unbound her feet, because I was to help 
the young man selected to be her husband, if he took 
a wife with large feet. The engagement papers were 
not made out, because the family wanted more betrothal 
money than I cared to give. I did not limit the young 
man at all. He could give what additional sum he 
pleased ; but I would not give more than twenty-four 
tiao, about two pounds ten shillings ; and thought that 
a good deal for a little girl of fourteen. The young 
man did not have any money, and rather wanted a small- 
footed wife ; but his elder brothers exhorted him, and 
he gave in : but no additional money is to be expected 
from him. The little girl herself admires her young 


Intimate China ^ 

man very much, and said if her father did not give her 
to Ytl Ch'ien (the young man) she would jump into the 
well when she got home. I have just heard that the 
father is dead. He was an opium-smoker, and wanted 
to betroth the girl where they could get the most 
money ; but the brothers said, ' Let our sister be 
happy, even if the money is less.' His death may 
bring on the engagement, as they wish the money 
for the funeral expenses, I suppose. Did you ever hear 
of Chinese who had enough money on hand for funeral 
expenses ? 

" One of our schoolboys, whose mother engaged 
him to a little girl eight years old, told his mother 
he wanted his bride's feet unbound, so she could enter 
our girls' school here. 

'' I took the schoolgirls out for a pleasure-trip 
yesterday. They went to the beautiful new Russian 
church and churchyard, prettily laid out with trees, 
flower-beds, and a chime of bells in the bell-tower. 
Afterwards we went to a temple in the city. One 
of the priests said, ' Why don't your girls bind their 
feet ? ' I said, ' Why don't you bind your feet ? ' ' I ! 
I'm a man\' I didn't talk further, as there was an 
unpleasant crowd gathering to watch the girls. 

" Mr. McKee, of Ta-tung Fu, Shansi, is exercised 
over the future of his schoolgirls. His wife has now 
the charge of a school of six girls. No girls with 
bound feet can enter. Mr. McKee says no boy in 
Ta-tung will engage himself to a large-footed girl, 
even if his parents are willing ; and if they are willing, 


-»i Natural Feet Society 

he or his big brother is not. I said, ' In Fenchou Fu, 
Shansi, there is a boys' school, and they can't get 
Christian girls enough for their brides.' But he said, 
' No, Ta-tung has such a bad reputation for selling 
daughters, that no good family will let its daughters 
be married outside of the city or very near villages, 
for fear it will be said they have been sold.' The 
girls are young yet, and there is no immediate necessity 
for their marriage ; so Mr. McKee trusts that Provi- 
dence will provide bridegrooms when the time comes." 

In April, 1895, I ^^^ happy enough to start the 
T'len Tsu Hui, or Natural Feet Society. Up till 
then foreigners who were not missionaries had done 
but little, if anything, to prevent footbinding. It was, 
therefore, quite a joyful surprise to find that pretty well 
all the Shanghai ladies whom I asked were willing 
and eager to serve upon the committee. We began 
very timidly by republishing a poem written by a 
Chinese lady of Hangchow, sent down by Bishop 
Moule, and happily for us translated into English 
verse by Dr. Edkins, for one of our initial difficulties 
was that not one of us could read Chinese. We then 
ventured on another poem by another Chinese lady. 
After that we published a tract written in English by 
Pastor Kranz, sat upon and somewhat remodelled by 
the whole committee, then translated into Chinese for 
us by the Rev. Timothy Richard's Chinese writer. It 
is difficult for English people to understand w^hat 
anguish of mind had been suffered by all the ladies 
on the committee, before we could decide Into what 


Intimate China ^ 

sort of Chinese we would have our tract translated. 
There were so many alternatives before us. Should 
it be into the Shanghai dialect ? and then, Should there 
be other translations into the dialects of the other 
parts ? The women would then understand it. But^ 
then, the women could not read. And were we 
appealing to the men or the women ? And would 
not our tract be thought very low and vulgar in such 
common language ? Should it be translated into 
ordinary mandarin ? But would not the learned even 
then despise it ? We knew of course — we all sat sadly 
weighted by the thought — that feet are the most risqiU 
subject of conversation in China, and no subject more 
improper can be found there. And some of us felt 
as if we should blush before those impassive blue- 
gowned, long-tailed Boys, who stand behind our chairs 
and minister to our wants at tiffin and at dinner, when 
the latter knew that we — we, their mistresses — were 
responsible for a book upon footbinding, a book that 
any common man off the streets could read. In the 
end we took refuge in the dignified Wenli of the 
Chinese classics, confident that thus anti-footbinding 
would be brought with as great decorum as possible 
before the Chinese public, and that at least the literati 
must marvel at the beautiful style and learning of the 
foreign ladies, who, alas ! could not read one character 
of the little booklet, whose type and red label we all 
examined so wistfully. We circulated our books as 
well as we could ; we encouraged each other not to 
mind the burst of ridicule with which we were greeted 

-Ti Chinese Drawing-room Meeting 

by the twenty-years-in-China-and-not-know-a-word-of- 
the-language men. Our one French member was most 
comforting with her two quotations, " La moquerie 
provient souvent d'indigence d'esprit," and *' La moquerie 
est I'esprit de ceux qui n'en ont point." But, to use the 
Chinese phrase, our hearts were very small indeed ; for 
we knew the custom was so old, and the country so big. 
And what were we to fight against centuries and millions ? 
There was a drawing-room meeting held at Chung- 
king, in the far west of Szechuan ; and it was a most 
brilliant affair. The wealth of embroideries on the 
occasion was a thing to remember. One young lady 
could look neither to the right nor to the left, so be- 
jewelled was she ; indeed, altogether she was a master- 
piece of art. But all the Chinese ladies laughed so 
gaily, and were so brilliant In their attire, that the 
few missionary ladies among them looked like sober 
moths caught in a flight of broldered butterflies. Every 
one came, and many brought friends ; and all brought 
children, in their best clothes too, like the most beautiful 
dolls. At first, in the middle of the cakes and tea, 
the speeches seemed to bewilder the guests, who could 
not make out what they were meant to do, when their 
hostess actually stood up and addressed them through 
an Interpreter. Then there was such eager desire to 
corroborate the statements : " On the north bank of 

the river near Nanking " '*Yes, yes!" exclaimed 

a lady from Nanking; *^they don't bind there! And 
they are strong — very." Then, when the speaker went 
on to say that on the road to Chengtu there was a 

Intimate China ^ 

city where a large part of the population all inter- 
married, and did not bind their women's feet, being 
of Cantonese descent, Cantonese ladies nodded and 
smiled, and moved dainty little hands with impetuous 
movements, as if eager for interpreters in their turn 
to make themselves understood by the great, jolly 
Szechuan dames round them. And when the speaker 
further spoke of parts of Hunan where rich and poor 
alike did not bind, the two solitary representatives of 
Hupeh, the boastful, could bear it no more, but with 
quiet dignity rose, and said, in their soft Hupeh voices, 
"In Hupeh, too, there are parts where no woman binds 
^ — none." Next a missionary lady in fluent Chinese 
explained the circulation of the blood, and with an 
indiarubber pipe showed the effect of binding some part 
of it. There were no interruptions then. This seemed 
to the Chinese ladies practical, and it was quite striking 
to see how attentively they listened. This speech was 
afterwards a good deal commented on. A Chinese 
lady then related how she had been led to unbind, 
ceasing any longer to feel delight in the little feet 
that had once been such a pride to her. After which 
another English lady explained in the local dialect 
our one tract in the classic language, the rather difficult 
Wenli. The meeting was then thrown open, and at 
once the very smartest of the Chinese ladies present 
came forward to make a speech in her turn. All 
present were agreed that footbinding was of no use, 
but it could only be given up by degrees. Man 
7nan-ti (Little by little) was the watchword. Then, just 


^ What did the Men say? 

as at an English meeting, a number of ladies went on 
to a dinner party. But the others stayed and talked. 
"Did you see my little girls listening?" said one 
mother. ''They are thinking they will never have 
their feet bound again." And certainly the expression 
of the litde girls had been eager in the extreme — poor 
little crippled creatures ! with their faces all rouged to 
simulate the roses of healthy exercise. 

But what did the men say ? What they thought of 
the meeting we did not know ; for as the husband of 
one of the ladies said next day rather crossly, " Oh, 
of course the women liked it ! They don't want to 
bind their feet!" It seemed a step, however, to have 
got a Chinaman even to admit that. 

At an anti-footbinding meeting another day, when 
those opposed to binding were asked to stand up, all 
the men present but six rose to their feet, and a 
merchant among the audience began a speech against 
binding. Some days afterwards a mandarin, calling, 
took up Pastor Kranz's pamphlet lying on the table, 
and said : " Ah, I have the larger copy of this book 
with pictures. No, I was not at the meeting the 
other day, but my people were. As to unbinding, 
the elder women can't ; you see, their toes have 
dropped off But my little girl of six is not having 
her feet bound any more. She screamed out so directly 
she laid her head upon her pillow, I could not bear 
to hear it. Besides, she got no sleep." He was a 
man of means, and made no reference as to any 
possible difficulty about marrying her. 


Intimate China ^ 

It was a little later on that we got our first great 
push forward. One of the examiners at Peking lost his 
father, and being in mourning could not, in accordance 
with Chinese usage, continue to hold office, so returned 
to his home in the far west, and there found his little 
daughter of seven crying over her footbinding. Whilst 
on the way he had come across one of our tracts. 
First he had his child's feet unbound ; then he thought, 
Could not he write something better on the subject— 
an appeal to his nation that would carry power ? After 
many days of thought, he wrote what we commonly 
call the Suifu Appeal ; for having signed it with his 
name and seal, and got five of his friends, leading 
men of the neighbourhood, to add their testimony and 
names, they proceeded to placard it over the walls of 
Suifu, against the examinations that were just coming 
off there, that all the young men might carry back 
the news of it to the different homes from which they 
came. No sooner did we get a copy of this pamphlet — 
which, curiously enough, was brought to me by Mr. 
Upcraft, then on his way down-river to be married 
to the very lady who had first told me of the mis- 
sionaries' efforts against footbinding, and thus impelled 
me to try to do what a simple lay woman could — than 
we at once began to reprint and distribute this appeal 
to all the ten thousand students who were coming up 
for examination to Chungking. We were more lavish 
of our funds than they of Suifu, and tried to give 
each a copy to take home. Then came a letter from 
the Shanghai manager of the great China Merchants' 


-^ Kang, the Modern Sage 

Company, the one great commercial body of China, 
also semi-official, saying he heard that there was a 
wonderful tract in the west, and he would like a copy, 
that he might reprint it at his own expense, and send 
it to be circulated through his native province of 

About a year afterwards we heard that the Pu Tsan 
Tsu Hui (No Bind Feet Society) had been formed at 
Canton by Kang, the Modern Sage, the adviser of the 
youthful Emperor, who has lately had to fly for his 
life, and only done so in safety under an English man- 
of-w^ars protection ; that ten thousand fathers of families 
had thereby pledged themselves not to bind their little 
girls' feet, nor to marry their sons to bound-foot girls ; 
that they had opened offices in Shanghai, and were 
memorialising Viceroys and high officials on the subject. 
We had ourselves memorialised the Emperor in char- 
acters of gold on white satin enclosed in a beautiful 
silver casket ; but although the iVmerican Minister, the 
doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, had done his best for 
us, we had never been officially informed of our 
beautiful memorial, signed by our President on behalf 
of nearly every European lady residing in the East, 
even getting into the young Emperor's hands, the 
Tsung-li Yamen preferring to keep it on their own 
shelves. This had discouraged us from going on to 
memorialise Viceroys, as we had originally intended. 
But now, to our delight, we heard of the Viceroys 
responding to the Chinese society. Chang-chih-tung. 
the one incorruptible Viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan, in 


Intimate China ^ 

that beautiful literary Chinese, In which he Is unrivalled, 
condemned footbinding, and we immediately proceeded 
to placard the cities of his two provinces with his 
condemnation ; whilst the Governor of Hunan, since 
degraded by the Empress-Dowager, dared to go a step 
farther, and forbade binding. The Viceroy of Nanking 
struck his breast ; then lifted up his hands to heaven, 
and said it was a good work, and he too would give a 
writing. But he died shortly afterwards. The Viceroy 
of Chlhli admonished all his subordinate officials to 
discourage binding, each in their separate districts. 

Meanwhile, another most unexpected adherent had 
come forward. Duke Kung Hul-chung, one of the 
lineal descendants of Confucius, wrote : "I have always 
had my unquiet thoughts about footbinding, and felt 
pity for the many sufferers. Yet I could not venture 
to say so publicly. Now there are happily certain 
benevolent gentlemen and virtuous daughters of ability, 
wise daughters from foreign lands, who have initiated 
a truly noble enterprise. They have addressed our 
women In animated exhortations, and founded a society 
for the prohibition of footbinding. They aim at 
extinguishing a pernicious custom." And he applied 
for copies of all our tracts that he might compile a 
book out of the best ones and circulate It. 

We were naturally Immensely pleased by his phrase 
" wise daughters from foreign lands,'' and began to 
forget that any one had ever laughed at us, as Chinese 
ladles now came forward to start a school for girls of 
the upper classes, the first rule of w^hlch Is that all 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

-r A Chinese Gentleman's Views 

who enter it must mutually exhort one another to 
unbind their feet. Shanghai ladies held drawing-room 
meetings, where they heard from Chinese ladies them- 
selves how they were never free from pain, admired 
their elegant raiment, and shuddered over the size of 
their feet ; whilst a meeting was held at one of the 
principal silk factories, when about a thousand Chinese 
women were addressed by European and Chinese ladies 
on the subject. 

As showing the Chinese view of the matter, it may 
interest some to read a rough sketch of the famous Suifu 
Appeal, that has had such an awakening influence over 
China. It is not at all what English people would 
write ; but there is no doubt that it does appeal to the 
hearts of Chinese. 

Recalling the anti-footbinding edict of the Emperor 
Shun Chih (1644 — 1662), the immediate predecessor 
of Kang Hsi — an edict too much ignored — and pro- 
nouncing footbinding actually illegal, Mr. Chou begins 
without any preliminary flourish with the statement 
that *' No crime is more criminal than disobedience 
to the Emperor, no pain more injurious than the 
breaking of the bones and sinews. Even the most 
stupid man knows this." He dilates upon the wicked- 
ness of disobeying the Emperor Shun Chih's edict, 
and disregarding the precepts of Confucius, who taught 
that men should respect and not injure their own 
bodies. "But now," he says, "they have their young 
daughters' feet bound tightly till they bleed, and tht: 
bones and sinews are broken. . . . Manchus and 


Intimate China <*- 

Mongols and Chinese bannermen do not bind their 
women's feet, upper and lower classes alike. . . . The 
provinces of Chihli, Kwangtung, and Kwangsi, after the 
Taiping rebellion was suppressed, acknowledged foot- 
binding was wrong, and the half of them abandoned 
the practice. In Szechuan Province, in the cities of 
Pengchou and Peng-chi-hien, Hung-ya, and Sa-chang, 
there are some wise men who have changed this fashion 
of small feet into natural feet. Let other places do 
the same." 

Then Mr. Chou refers to the countries beyond the 
seas — England, France, Germany, America, etc. The 
women there are free from the pains of footbinding. 
Only the Chinese voluntarily incur suffering and injury ; 
parents neglect teaching their daughters the five 
womanly virtues ; and teach them instead a bad custom, 
spoiling their feet. He next points out that " dis- 
tinctions of rank are not indicated by the feet. More- 
over, the laws of the empire ordain the punishment 
of the wicked by cutting in pieces, beheading, and 
strangling ; but there is nothing about binding of the 
feet : the laws are too merciful for that. When in a 
fight or quarrel people's limbs are Injured, there is an 
appointed punishment. But people have their young 
daughters' feet broken on purpose, not heeding their 
cries and pain. And yet parents are said to love 
their daughters. For what crime are these tender 
children punished ? Their parents cannot say. It 
makes the daughters cry day and night, aching with 
pain. It is a hundred times as bad a punishment as 


-^ Women Defenceless in Case of Attack 

robbers get. If a man is beaten in th^ ya7nen, he can 
get over it in a fortnight. But if a girl's feet are bound, 
she suffers from it all her life long, and her feet can 
never regain their natural shape." 

Mr. Chou has no patience with fathers who torture 
their little daughters because their ancestors did it. "I 
do not think much," he says, "of such respect for 
ancestors." Then he goes to the practical side of 
the question, and shows how, if robbers come or a 
fire breaks out, the men of the family have to leave 
the women behind (as they actually do) to commit 
suicide, or suffer a still worse fate. Whereas, if 
the women had natural feet, they could defend them- 
selves, or escape, as well as the men. Men should 
not despise girls with natural feet. "In times of 
calamity the noble and rich are the first to suffer, 
because their women, brought up in ease and luxury, 
cannot escape. If any accident suddenly occurs, they 
can but sit and await death ; whilst those with unbound 
feet can carry heavy things or use weapons, and need 
not fear being left behind or killed. They can even 
be trained in military exercises, so as to defend them- 
selves against attack, and thus enjoy security. This 
is the happy course." 

It is a man's business, Mr. Chou says he hea^s 
foolish people say, to defend women ; but from ancient 
times to the present day even high officials have not 
always succeeded in defending their wives. And the 
inability of the women to escape leads to the death 
of the men who stay to defend them, and so the 

l6l M 

Intimate China ^ 

family perishes. " I hope people will be wise and 
Intelligent, and give up this stupidity." 

" The present is no time of peace. Foreign women 
have natural feet ; they are daring, and can defend 
themselves ; whilst Chinese women have bound feet, 
and are too weak even to bear the weight of their 
own clothes. They think it looks nice ; but In reality 
It does not look nice, and weakens their bodies, often 
causing their death. I am a student, a man of no use 
in the world ; but I must try to do people some good, 
and I may be of some use by writing this. The people in 
Szechuan Province are numerous and crowded together, 
and there are many idlers and bad characters. Many 
unforeseen things may arise. Am I right or wrong ? " 

Many people ask whether it is possible for women 
to unbind. It Is not only possible, but many women 
have done so, and can not only walk now, but declare 
they are free from suffering. It is, however, obvious 
that their feet cannot regain their natural shape ; and 
probably it is even in some cases Impossible to dispense 
with the bandages. In all cases unbinding Is a painful 
process, requiring much care. Cotton-wool has to be 
pushed under the toes ; massage Is generally resorted 
to ; and not uncommonly the w^oman has to He In bed 
for some days. But I have seen many women who 
have unbound at forty, and one even at sixty. All 
those I have seen have done so under direct Christian 
Influence ; but I have heard of large groups of Chinese 
women unbinding quite apart from all foreign influence. 
And so, with Chinese literati writing anti-footblnding 


^. Action of Chinese High Officials 

tracts ; a Chinese Viceroy circulating one with a preface 
of his own ; a descendant of Confucius collating and 
distributing our publications ; the leading Chinese 
periodical advocating our cause ; an influential Chinese 
Antl-footblndlno^ Society established In Shano^hal ; and, 
best of all, Chinese ladles of distinction coming forward 
to found a school for girls of the upper classes, — it 
seems almost as If w^e had already set the women of 
China on their feet again. But with this reaction set 
In at Peking, it may be that the hardest and fiercest 
part of the fight Is yet to come, and that Chinese women 
may yet need more help from us before the custom 
of a thousand years Is for all time done away, and 
'' golden lily " shoes only to be found In the shape of 
Liberty pincushions. 




Official Honours to Women. — Modesty. — ^Conjugal 
Relations.— Business Knowledge. — Opium-smoking. 
— -Typical Women. 

A MAN once quaintly said to me, " Whenever I 
want to know what men really are, I consider 
what they have made of their women." We may also 
learn something by considering what men say they 
admire in women. And for this purpose a fev/ extracts 
from the Peking Gazette, the oldest newspaper in the 
world, and to this day the official organ of China, will 
go farther than a hundred pages of hearsays. Let us 
consider three cases from one year only. 

''May 2nd, 1891. — The Viceroy at Canton submits 
an application which he has received from the elders 
and gentry of the district of Shun-teh, asking per- 
mission to erect a memorial arch to an old lady who 
has seen seven generations of her family, and is at 
present living under the same roof with four genera- 
tions of her descendants. The lady, whose maiden 
name< was Lin, is the mother of the .distinguished 
General Fang Yao, and is in her eighty-second year. 
She has six sons, forty grandsons, one hundred and 



A Life of Singular Purity and Simplicity 

twenty-one great-grandsons, and two great-great-grand- 
sons. Her life has been one of singular purity and 
simplicity, fully entitling her to the honour bestowed 


by law upon aged people of distinction. — Referred to 
the consideration of the Board of Rites!' 

''February 6th, 1891. — Li Hung-chang submits a 
case of filial piety which was brought to his notice 


Intimate China ^«- 

by Wu Fu-lun. An assistant deputy magistrate on the 
ChihH expectant Hst had a daughter renowned for. her 
docile disposition and her fiHal piety. In the summer 
of the present year her father was deputed to look 
after some work in connection with the river embank- 
ments. While he was away, his wife became danger- 
ously ill, and was most tenderly nursed by her daughter, 
who went the length of cutting off a piece of her flesh 
to make soup for the invalid, and who offered to give 
up her own life should that of her mother's be spared. 
When her elder brother proposed to go and inform 
the father of the dangerous state of his wife's health, 
she prevented his doing so by pointing out that her 
father had enough to do looking after his own work, 
and to add to his anxiety by conveying to him such 
news would serve but little purpose. Two days after 
P'eng-chu's return his wife died, and the daughter 
refused to take any food for several days. Seeing by 
so doing she was causing great grief to her father, 
she forced herself to take a little gruel. Some time 
after he was ordered away on river-work, and during 
his absence she again refused to take any nourishment. 
While away he was taken ill, and asked for leave 
to return home. On his arrival he was met by his 
daughter, who informed him that she dared not die 
without first telling him, but that now he had come 
back she wished to state that it was her Intention 
to go and wait on her mother In the shades below. 
In spite of all entreaties she then resolutely abstained 
from all food, and died some days after. Memorialist 


-»5 Heroic Women 

agrees in thinking that it would be a thousand pities to 
pass over such a remarkable instance of filial devotion 
without remark, and would ask that the Board be 
directed to make out a scroll to her memory. — Reqitest 
granted. Let the Board of Rites take note J' 

It will be noted, In both these cases, It Is rather 
what may be called the domestic virtues that have 
won attention. General Fang Yao's mother Is honoured 
for her numerous offspring, as also for the singular 
purity and simplicity of her life ; Wei P'eng-chu's 
daughter for her devotion to her mother. But the 
next case is of quite a different character, and shows 
once more how China Is always the land of the un- 
expected. In advanced America, have women ever 
yet received decorations for heroism In war ? Whilst 
here, In old-fashioned China, in the Peking Gazette, 
we read : 

''January 2'^rd, 1891. — In 1858 Liuchou, a city in 
Kwangsl, fell Into the hands of rebels. A great number 
of Its inhabitants died in its defence, or, preferring 
death to dishonour, committed suicide rather than 
submit to their conquerors. Nor did the men alone 
show forth their bravery In this respect ; their example 
was largely followed by the women. When the city 
was recaptured, orders were issued that a list should 
be prepared of all those who had suffered, In order that 
some steps might be taken to commemorate their self- 
sacrifice. At the time when these orders were Issued, 
every one's attention was concentrated on suppressing 
the rebellion, and it was not easy to give effect thereto. 


Intimate China ^ 

When peace was restored, instructions, however, were 
again given that inquiries should be made from time 
to time as originally directed. Ma Pi-yao, the Governor 
of Kwangsi, accordingly submits a list drawn up by 
the Mah'ing District Magistrate of the names of thirty- 
four women who died in those troublesome times, and 
thus preserved their honour. Memorialist thinks that 
the memory of these women is worthy of all honour, 
and would suggest that the Board be instructed to 
prepare a posthumous testimonial of merit commemora- 
tive of their action. Thus will their pure souls be set 
at rest, and others be encouraged to follow in their 
footsteps. — Request granted. Let the Board of Rites 
take note.'' 

It will be observed that several years had been 
allowed to elapse before these thirty-four women 
received official honour. Yet is it not the case that 
in most other countries they would have remained 
unnoticed to all time ? The wording is also note- 
worthy : " a posthumous testimonial of merit com- 
memorative of their action " is to be prepared. '' Thus 
will their pure souls be set at rest, and others be 
encouraged to follow in their footsteps." 

It is the custom of most men to write of the mock 
modesty of the women of China. They may have 
very good reasons for doing so of which I know 
nothing. With regard to women, as with regard to 
everything else in China, I can but write of them as 
I have found them. To establish the truth of any fact 
or any series of facts needs an amount of research and 



Modesty and Dignity 

study I have not been able to give ; nor does this book 
aim at being a storehouse of learning and a book of 
reference for all time, but rather at giving a picture, 
for those who know nothing of them, of a people among 
whom I have at least lived on somewhat intimate 
terms for the last eleven years. At the same time, in 
writing about Chinese women I am burdened by the 
reflection that possibly I am in some ways better 
able to express an opinion about the men, and men 
about the women. To tell what I can, however : doubt- 
less Chinese ladies' speak of many subjects with the 
freedom of the days of Queen Elizabeth ; but how 
women can be called mock modest who always remain 
fully clad in such damp heat as leads men to strip to 
the waist in all their shops, as also at their dinner 
parties, when summer is at its height, I cannot under- 
stand. The amount of suffering from heat that must 
be undergone by women in consequence of their 
observance of decorum seems not at all to have been 
sufficiently appreciated. I have never yet seen a Chinese 
woman insufficiently clad, nor committing any act that 
could possibly be considered indecent. The whole 
behaviour of Chinese ladies would lead me to suppose 
that they would shrink from anything of the kind. 
It is not in accordance with their etiquette that they 
should talk to men — not their own relations ; yet 
whenever I have seen them brought into intercourse 
with foreign men, or even Chinese men, on matters 
of business, I have been struck by both their ease of 
manner and their quiet dignity. It is true they are 


Intimate China ^ 

rather given to rising to address a man, as if he were 
a superior being ; but, further than that, they in nowise 
convey the impression that they are accustomed to 
consider themselves as at the service or pleasure of 
men. It must be understood I am here simply writing 
of the ladies, with whom I have held friendly inter- 
course, not of poor peasant-women, nor of those whose 
society European men in treaty ports most frequent. 
Although for these last I must add that, however 
immodest their conduct may be, their manners and 
behaviour have none of that repulsive disregard of 
decency, that makes it to a woman so painful to hold 
intercourse with those acting in a similar manner in 
London, New York, or, worse still, Paris. It is not 
unnatural that this should be so. The women 
leading a vicious life in China have for the most 
part been sold into slavery in their childhood, 
their families not having enough rice to feed them ; 
and it is from no bad inclinations of their own that 
they are found in the houses where foreign or Chinese 
men find them. Doubtless there are in China, as in 
other countries, women who prefer vice to virtue ; but 
if I am any judge of expressions or manners, these 
last must be rarer in China than in any other country 
with which I am acquainted. 

At a ladies' dinner party, the conversation turning 
upon a new Governor, who had just arrived with 
several concubines, I found all the ladies at table 
expressing a horror at the idea of being, or letting 
any one of their relations become, the number two 


^ European Ladies have to alter Dress 

of any man ; whilst my hostess explained to me that 
concubines were, as a rule, women of lower birth, or 
sprung from families fallen into indigence. But what 
struck me most was that there was no tittering, nor 
appearance of innuendo, whilst discussing the subject, 
which simply came forward, because none of the ladies 
saw how they could interchange visits with the ladies 
of the new Governor ; and they also thought an official 
of such habits of life was not likely to administer 
the district well. The coarseness and directness of 
Chinese women often shock European ladies very 
much. But whilst glad that we have ourselves so far 
improved in this respect, I have never felt sure that 
the fine ladies of Queen Elizabeth's time were not 
more modest really than the fine ladies of Queen 
^ Victoria's. 

It is certainly true that all we European ladies 
who go up-country in China have to alter our 
wardrobes very considerably, if we mean to be on 
friendly terms with Chinese ladies ; whilst the wife 
of a French Consul had to replace in its case an 
old master she had brought out to China, such an 
outrage upon decency was it considered. The German 
wife of a Commissioner of Customs, regardless of its 
effects upon her husband's official visitors, amused 
herself by decorating her hall with life-size pictures 
of nude female figures. She was rewarded by her 
man-servant always pointing them out to visitors, when 
she was out, as the pictures of herself and her various 
friends. Without entering upon the vexed question 


Intimate China <•- 

as to the decency of the undraped, it can be imagined 
that no pictures of the kind exist in a country where 
no woman ever bares any part of her person in society. 
And far from this indicating mock modesty, it appears 
to me the natural outcome of a classic literature, 
every passage of which might be put into the hands 
of the traditional young girl. When it is further 
considered that, unlike the images of the two adjacent 
countries of India and Tibet, the images of China 
are quite untainted by any suggestion of impropriety, 
I think I have some grounds for saying that, at all 
events, virtue is sufficiently in the ascendant in China 
for vice to pay it the compliment of hypocrisy, if no 
more. And has any nation yet got farther than this ? 

It is, of course, well known that as a Chinaman gets 
richer he buys more concubines. These do not take 
rank as his wife, and the whole proceeding is considered 
rather as a concession to weakness than as a practice 
to be admired. He is, however, careful to get them 
from as respectable families as he can. A Chinaman 
also takes a concubine into his house for life ; he has no 
idea of enjoying the few fleeting years of her youth and 
prettiness, and then setting her adrift with a little sum 
of money. She becomes from the moment she enters 
his household as much a charge to him as his wife is, 
and her children are just as much his lawful children as 
his wife's are. At the same time, concessions to weak- 
ness are said to open the floodgates to yet greater evils ; 
and it may be so in China. 

At a dinner party I was asking after the pretty, 


^ A Thing Outrageous 

bright little daughter of my host, who in company with 
another pretty doll of a girl and an infant prodigy of 
a younger brother had paid me a visit the year before, 
when a lady beside me, putting up a warning hand across 
her lips, just after the fashion of a regular fine lady of 
Europe, spoke in easy accents from behind it : " Best 
ask no questions. They are by another woman. His 
wife has but this one daughter that you see." The 
speech and the manner of it seemed to give me a new 
insight into Chinese life. The year before the other 
woman had been living in his house, his wife had herself 
brought the infant prodigy often to see me. The little 
girls had come more than once. Now a time of 
financial crisis had passed over the city, he had 
established his number two with her children in a 
little shop near by, and the subject was not to be 
mentioned in the hearing of his wife and daughter. 
Further inquiry revealed that he had done a thing 
outrageous, not to be spoken of except in a whisper. 
Under stress of poverty he had sent another concubine 
into a convent to be a nun. This was atrocious, for by 
all Chinese rules she was a member of his family, for 
whom he was bound to provide for the rest of her days. 

What is the position of women when they are 
married ? It is so hard to describe this in any country. 
And the difficulty is increased in China, because we are 
so prone to connect the Idea of marriage with love and 
love-making. There Is nominally none In China, where 
as a rule the young man does not see his bride until 
she is his wife. She then becomes the household 


Intimate China ^ 

drudge, wears poor clothing in comparison with the 
daughters of the house, and is the servant of her 
mother-in-law. Often and often have I wished that 
it was not so, and that in going to a house I could 
talk with the 
w i s t f u 1 young 
daughters - in- law, 
who glance at me 
from under their 
evelids, and look 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

as if they would be so receptive of new ideas, being, 
like most ill-used people, quite ready for a revolt of 
some sort. But it is the elder lady who does the 
honours, entertains the guests, and regulates the 
household. And who more set in her ideas than a 
grandmother of many grandchildren ? 


-^ Chinese Ladies' Visit 

There is one Chinese family that has for many 
years shown us kindHness. We have assisted at its 
weddings and its funerals, and its young men have 
spent long hours of the days, when they had nothing 

Lent by Scotch Presbyterian Mission. 

else to do, at our house. One day the ladies announced 
they were coming. And they came ; but, alas ! as 
is usual, in such numbers, and with so many women 
attendants, it was difficult to find chairs enough for all, 


Intimate China ^ 

much more conversation. How merry they were, as 
they looked about at all our foreign things, all new to 
them ! But their especial delight was our battledore 
and shuttlecocks. They had been accustomed to use 
the heels of their crippled feet for battledores, and 
were not easily tired of playing in our pleasanter 
fashion. It was one of these girls w^ho afterwards at 
a dinner party consented to show me her foot. For 
a year after that she was busy with preparations for 
her trousseau, all apparently made at home under her 
own supervision ; and, to my great regret, I have seen 
nothing of her since her marriage. We were away 
for a time, and since then she has had a child. A 
Chinese lady never goes about whilst expecting, nor 
whilst her child is very young — at least, those I know 
do not. Curiously enough, for a month after child- 
birth Chinese coolies object to even carrying a woman 
in a sedan-chair. There are in China many curious 
traces of the same idea, that led to the service for 
the churching of women. There is some objection to 
women sleeping upstairs in a house frequented by men ; 
and when a woman in our house was put to sleep in 
a room that happened to be over the entrance, some 
Chinese considered it very damaging to my husband's 
business. In China a husband and wife very rarely 
oo out or travel together. On one occasion, as I relate 
elsewhere, an old-fashioned inn actually refused to 
receive us on that ground, and we were nearly be- 
nighted before arriving at another village, where our 
servant had the assurance to pass me off as a man. 


-»5 I must consult my Wife 

It must not, however, be assumed from all this that 
Chinese women take no part in affairs. A Governor's 
wife is always supposed to be the keeper of his official 
seal, and is therefore never expected to go out and 
pay visits. When my husband was obliged to go to 
Shanghai on business, it was his Chinese employes who 
immediately suggested that I should keep the keys of 
the safe, and supervise the accounts in his absence, 
this being what they said the wife of a Chinese man of 
business would undertake. Nor is it unusual, my 
husband says, for a business man to say to him, " I 
must go home and consult my wife before concluding this 
bargain." When we first arrived in Chungking, the 
wife of a formerly very wealthy merchant came at once 
to see me, begging that some place might be found in 
my husband's business for her husband, who had unfor- 
tunately become impoverished. I promised to mention 
the matter ; but as she proceeded to enter into details, 
and my knowledge of Chinese was even less then than 
it is now, I called for our cook to interpret, and to 
my amusement presently heard him say, '' I don't know 
why you trouble my mistress about all this. Foreign 
ladies are not like our ladles ; they don't understand 
anything about business, and take no part in their 
husbands' affairs." This he said in a tone as if ex- 
plaining that we were ignorant, frivolous creatures ; 
and it must be remembered that, like most Chinese 
who go into foreign employ, he had been uniformly in 
service with foreigners since his earliest years. 

When a young man in my husband's business was 

177 N 

Intimate China ^ 

taking to dissipated courses, it was his mother who 
came off in her sedan-chair into the country to inter- 
view my husband. And very definitely she knew what 
she wanted, — that her son should be given employment 
at a distance, and thus separated from the many un- 
desirable acquaintances he had formed. She begged 
my husband also to give him a talking to, and told 
him exactly what she thought he had better say ; then,, 
having laid her point of view very clearly before him,, 
begged that her visit might be kept a secret from her 
son, and so departed. I must add that, for all her 
being a lady, she went on her knees to my husband 
on arrival, and tried to do so again on going. But 
in conversation with him she was anything but on 
her knees. 

Except among the poorest of the poor, who do 
field-work or carry water, the women of China do- 
little beyond suckling children and making shoes, 
except in the treaty ports, where now large numbers 
of them are employed in the factories lately started. 
They smoke and gossip, give and go to dinner parties,, 
and one of their great delights is to go on pilgrimages 
to distant shrines. Jt is sometimes stipulated before 
marriage that a woman shall go on so many pilgrimages 
during the year. Even when nuns invite ladies to- 
come and enjoy themselves with them, it means drinking 
wine, smoking, and playing cards ; and not uncom- 
monly, in the west of China at all events, smoking 
includes opium-smoking. The ladies who are regular 
opium-smokers sit up late at night, and do not get 


-») Lady Opium-smokers 

up till five or six in the evening. They mostly have 
bad health, and generally say they have taken to opium- 
smoking because of it. Whatever effect opium may 
have upon men, the various ladies I have seen at ladies' 
dinners generally return from the opium-couch with 
their eyes very bright, their cheeks very red, and 
talking a great deal of nonsense very excitedly. But 
afterwards they look yellow and unhealthy, mostly with 
sunken cheeks. They seem no more ashamed of it 
than ladies are of taking wine in England. But those 
who do not smoke seem to think it a rather dis- 
graceful proceeding. A lady will draw herself up, and 
say, " None of the members of my family smoke opium 
— not one." But at a good many dinner parties the 
opium-couch is prepared with all its elegant accessories. 
And at the only Chinese country house, at which I have 
stayed, the ladies' one idea was to ask me into their 
bedrooms to smoke opium. Naturally, my acquaintance 
is rather with Szechuan ladies. Cantonese seem alto- 
gether different. And I gather that there must be a 
much more cultured set in some parts of China, judging 
from the ladies engaged in starting the High School 
for Girls in Shanghai. Of those I know in the west, 
only one young girl could read and write. She was 
talked of with admiration by young men, who asked 
if I knew her, and if she were not awfully clever. 

Foreign men often get the idea that women rule 
the roost in China, because when they want to buy a 
house or bit of land the sale is often delayed owing to 
some old woman of the family not agreeing to it. And 


Intimate China ^ 

the scolding tongue of an old woman has before now 
proved too much for a British Consul to withstand. 
But it must be remembered what a dull, mulish 
obstinacy is that of the Chinese man, and that some- 
how or other the Chinese woman has to get on with 
him. At Ichang, in one street at least, the men were 
said to be constantly beating their wives ; and I recollect 
once seeing a woman, who, after a storm of invective 
against her husband, threw herself down on the road 
there and kicked and screamed. She was very red, 
as if she had been drinking too much wine ; and I still 
remember the sheepish air of the man, as he stood 
and watched her kicking. He certainly did not attempt 
to lay a hand upon her whilst we were by. But during 
all the years I have been in China this is the only case 
of the kind I have seen. In a Chinese city one does 
not at night hear the cries of women as one too often 
does in London. And on the whole it would appear 
as if husbands and wives got on very well together, if 
without very much affection. A woman who kills her 
husband is still condemned to death by the lingering 
process, namely, to being sliced to death ; but though 
this shows the horror entertained of so dastardly a deed, 
yet in reality, even for such a crime as this, she is put 
to death first and cut in pieces afterwards. 

Meng Kuang is one of the typical women of China. 
Contrary to the usual custom, she seems to have chosen 
her own husband, and went to his house dressed in 
all the splendour of a Chinese bride. For seven days 
he did not speak to her, nor answer one of her 


-»5 An Empress's Devotion 

questions. At last he told her he did not like silks 
of various colours, nor a painted face, nor blackened 
eyebrows. At once she transformed herself into a 
plainly dressed, hard-working wife ; she became noted 
for her virtues ; and her name is on the lips of all the 
people of China, somewhat after the fashion of the 
patient Griselda of old. 

A prettier story is told of the wife of the Emperor 
Yuan-ti in the Han Dynasty (about the third century a.d.). 
The Emperor was inspecting a collection of wild animals, 
tigers and others, when a bear broke loose. Climbing 
up the railing of the enclosed space, he was getting 
to the top, and all the other women were running 
away, when Chao I. advanced as if to meet the bear, 
standing fearlessly in front of him with a determined 
air. The guards happily killed the bear, before he 
could attack her ; but the Emperor turned to Chao I., 
and asked her how it was she was not afraid. Her 
reply is beautiful : '' Wild animals are generally content 
with one victim. I advanced to place myself as a 
shield for you." For this she was greatly honoured 
in her lifetime, and has ever since been held up as 
an example of womanly courage and devotion. 

It only remains to add that whilst a roomful of 
Chinese ladies presents a very pretty appearance, from 
the exquisite gradations of colour of their embroidered 
skirts and jackets, the brilliancy of their head ornaments, 
and their rouge, yet, taken individually, probably no 
other nation is so deficient in charm. Their idea is that 
is it indecorous to show the figure ; therefore only their 


Intimate China ^ 

deformed feet, cased, it is true, in beautifully embroidered 
little shoes, and their faces, are seen ; even the hands, 
which are small and very elegantly shaped, with taper 
fingers and filbert nails, are concealed in their large 
sleeves. Their faces at parties are often so rouged as 
to look like masks, their lips coloured, their eyebrows 
darkened, and their hair so anointed as to give a shining, 
semi-metallic setting to the face. Their skirts are very 
prettily made, in a succession of tiny pleats longitudinally 
down the skirt, and only loosely fastened together over 
the hips, so as to feather round the feet when they move 
in the balancing way that Chinese poets liken to the 
waving of the willow. Their outer jackets in winter, 
often of plum-colour satin, with gold-embroidered 
sleeves, are rather like old-fashioned spencers and 
unobjectionable ; but the under-jackets — at a party a lady 
often wears three — are of an ugly cut, especially in the 
back, where they are made so as to stick out instead of 
hanging flat over the shoulders. And when the ladies 
divest themselves of their skirts — you always ask a 
Chinese lady to lay aside her skirt, as in England you 
ask her to lay aside her cloak — any dress more ugly 
could hardly be imagined than the long, sloppy-looking 
under-jacket over rather full, straight-cut trousers, 
possibly of red satin, gorgeously embroidered with 
life-size butterflies. There is no single feature in the 
face that we could call pretty, and in accordance with 
etiquette the face is entirely devoid of expression. I 
have never been able to find anything pretty about 
a Chinese woman except her hands and arms, both of 


-^ Worthy, but not Bewitching 

which are very prettily modelled. Doubtless her feet 
and legs would be too, if let alone. Now her poor 
legs are like two sticks. 

Although often what one must call very well bred, 
there is nothing pretty or taking about Chinese ladies' 
manners. But whether in spite or because of this want 
of charm, the women of China give me the idea that, 
if once set upon their feet again, they will become a 
great power in the land — not witching men's hearts 
away, but guiding them in childhood in the way in 
•which they should go, and in after-years pre-eminently 
calculated to be companions, counsellors, and friends. 
Confucius and Mencius are both said to have had 
remarkable mothers ; and it is at least noteworthy that, 
since the Chinese have taken to mutilating the feet of 
their women, there has not been one man whom they 
reckon great born among them : so true it is that 
any injury to the women of a nation always reacts 
upon the men with redoubled force. 



Missing Bride. — Wedding Reception. — Proxy Mar- 
riage. — Servants' Weddings. — Love for Wives. — 
Killing a Husband. — Wifely Affection. — ^ Chinese 
Babies. — Securing a Funeral. 

IN China a bride usually rides in a richly embroidered 
red sedan-chair, decorated with flowers, and hired 
for the occasion. Not long ago in Canton city a man 
hired a chair to carry his bride to his homestead in 
the suburbs. The distance was great, and the hour late. 
When the four chair-coolies and the lantern-bearers 
arrived at their destination, the chair containing the 
bride was deposited outside the doorway to wait the 
auspicious hour selected for opening the door to admit 
the bride, and the coolies adjourned to an opium-den ; 
and as they had travelled a long way and were tired, 
they soon fell asleep. How long they dozed they knew 
not ; but on awakening, they returned, and found the 
bridal chair outside the doorway. They came to the 
not unnatural conclusion that the bride had already 
entered the household, and that the chair was left there 
for them to take back to the city. Since they had 
all received their pay in advance, they did not stop 
to make further inquiries, but hurried home with the 


■^ Waiting for the Bride 

chair, put it in a loft, and, rolHng themselves up in their 
beds, slept the sleep of the just. In the meantime 
the bridegroom heard the bridal party arrive, but had 
to wait the stroke of the auspicious hour before welcom- 



Lent by Scotch Presbyterian Mission. 

ing the bride. At last the candles were lit, incense- 
sticks were lighted, the new rice and viands for enter- 
taining the bride were served, the parents-in-law put 
on their best suits, and so did the bridegroom, and 
with much pomp and ceremony the door was thrown 


Intimate China <*- 

wide open ; but as far as the lantern's Hght would reach, 
lo ! there was not a trace of the bridal chair, or bride, 
nor a single soul to be seen. Great was their con- 
sternation, and it became greater still as they concluded 
that bandits must have kidnapped the bride, and would 
hold her for ransom. The district officer was aroused, 
the case was reported to the village justice of the 
peace, and search parties were sent out in every 
direction. The bridegroom, though distracted, had 
sense enough to rush to the city and make inquiries 
of the chair-bearers. The coolies were dumbfounded, 
and explained what they had done. Together they 
clim.bed to the loft, opened the door of the chair, and 
found the demure-looking bride, long imprisoned and 
half-starved, but still appearing to her best advantage 
in her beautiful bridal gown. The bride appeared to 
have known that she was being carried backwards and 
forwards ; but could not protest, because it is the custom 
for brides not to open their lips till the marriage 
ceremony is performed. Hence all the trouble. 

This little story, taken almost verbatim from a 
Chinese newspaper, shows how far a bride's silence 
is carried. During all the days of reception after the 
wedding she is supposed to stand up to receive each 
incoming guest, who may make what remarks he pleases, 
even of the most personal nature, but never a word 
may she say ; whilst attendant maids pull back her 
skirts to show how small her feet are, etc. 

At one wedding I saw the poor bride grow so pain- 
fully crimson under the comments of a very young man, 


-»i A Reluctant Bridegroom 

that I took for granted he must be some rude younger 
"brother, and without thinking said so, and found I 
had done quite the right thing ; for the youth — who 
was no relation at all — incontinently fled, feeling he 
had over-stepped the bounds of propriety. Besides 
not speaking, the bride is supposed not to eat. At 
the only wedding-feast I have attended — I have been 
to several receptions — the unfortunate bride and bride- 
groom had to kneel and touch the ground with their 
foreheads so often, that even if well nourished one 
wondered how they could live through it. The bride 
had to serve all the ladies with wine, the bridegroom 
to go round the men's tables and do likewise. When 
the size of the bride's feet is further considered, and 
the weight of the jewellery in her hair, one wonders 
a little in what frame of mind the poor bride ultimately 
approaches her groom. It must certainly be in an 
absolutely exhausted condition of body. 

An amusing matrimonial incident may be worth 
repeating here. A young fellow was to be married 
on a certain lucky date ; but his business having taken 
him away just before the event, he found it impossible 
to get back in time. He wrote to his parents, begging 
them to get the ceremony postponed. To this sug- 
gestion many objections were raised by relatives and 
friends and invited guests, and a strong despatch 
was forthwith prepared, peremptorily commanding his 
attendance on the original date. Again the bridegroom 
pleaded business, and said that he really could not 
come, whereupon the incensed father straightway took 


Intimate China ^ 

his departure for regions unknown, leaving the mother 
to do as she Hked in the matter. The latter was a 
woman of original ideas, and, finding herself thus left 
alone, resolved, for the honour of the family, to resort 
to strategy. Giving out that the bridegroom had 
actually returned, but would not be visible until the 
day of the marriage, she cleverly dressed in male 
attire a buxom daughter, who is said to have been at 
all times very like her brother, and made her act the 
part of happy man throughout the ceremonial. When 
the latter was finished and the deception was disclosed 
or discovered, the hymeneal party is said to have 
broken up in fits of laughter, and in praise of the 
mother whose genius had evolved so satisfactory a 
method of overcoming a serious domestic difficulty. 
The proxy marriage will, it is said, hold good, and^ 
nolens volens, the son is now regarded by his family 
and friends as a married man. 

When one of our many cooks once wanted a wife,. 
he discussed the matter in very businesslike style with 
my husband. " I can get a wife in Szechuan for ten 
dollars," he said. '' But, then, I can know nothing 
about her family and habits, as I could if I took a wife 
from Hupeh" — his own province. ''It is true there 
I should have to pay more. But here all the women 
drink wine and smoke, and many of them smoke 
opium. And you never can know the truth beforehand. 
Now, if I find after marriage that the woman I have 
chosen smokes opium, there will be my ten dollars 
gone, and nothing to show for them. I shall wait 

^ Counting beforehand on Wedding Presents 

till I can go home to my own province. Aren't you 
going that way soon, master ? Promise you will take 
me when you do." However, after all these wise 
sayings, he was over-persuaded by the account he 
heard of some woman, married her, and was, I think, 
very fortunate in her, but that the poor creature died 
of some painful internal disease two years afterwards. 

Our water-coolie made such a fuss over his wedding, 
gave such a feast, invited so many guests, and borrowed 
so much money to defray expenses, that I do not see 
how it is possible in all the course of his life for him 
to get out of debt again ; for though he had made 
an elaborate calculation that each wedding guest would 
give a present worth more than his share of the feast 
would cost, and that he himself would thus really make 
money by it, he found himself disappointed. It is 
curious as, perhaps, indicating the mortality among the 
women of China that all our servants, with the exception 
of one who has left our service, have lost their wives 
at least once during the twelve years I have been in 
China ; and not one of the wives can have been 
over forty. 

The men seemed proud of their wives, and good to 
them according to their ideas ; but it certainly was extra- 
ordinary how little they seemed to feel their loss when 
they died. Yet I suppose they care sometimes. When- 
ever we visit in Chinese houses, my husband generally 
tries to rejoin me when he can, knowing that my know- 
ledge of Chinese cannot carry me very far, and that 
consequently my intercourse with the ladies of the 

Intimate China ^ 

house is apt to become rather fatiguing to both parties- 
after a time. On one occasion I was surprised to see 
him come in so very soon, and with two young men. 
One of the young fellows said to me in a good-humoured 
way, '' We want him to enjoy himself, and we notice 
he is never so happy as when he is with you. Oh,, 
yes ! we have husbands like that too." One of the 
governors of Chungking was said, indeed, to be so fond 
of his wife as to order naval reviews on the river for 
her amusement. He built a specially pretty pavilion 
in the highest part of the city for her to have dinner 
parties there, and possibly it may have been partly grief 
over her loss — she died of the fright caused by a very 
great fire that all but burnt their official residence — 
that made him afterwards go out of his mind for a 
time. Another Chinese official, ordered to take up 
high office in Tibet, was so determined his wife should 
accompany him, that, as the Tibetans will not allow 
Chinese women to pass a barrier a few miles beyond 
Tachienlu for fear of the Chinese settling down and. 
overrunning the country, he had her dressed as a man. 
and carried in a sedan-chair, which she never got out 
of So it seems some Chinese husbands value their 
wives beyond the price they pay for them. But with 
our servants that last seemed to be all they thought 
of And yet I still hear the soft caressing tones in 
which our head servant's wife used always to address 
him. She was a very plain woman, but so quiet, and 
made so little demands for herself, wanting always, 
apparently only to be serviceable, that as her husband. 


-^ Exasperated by Ill-treatment 

rose in social position and wealth it always touched me 
to see the way in which this honest, homely creature 
would look round on the fine ladies she was brought in 
contact with, and who at first tried to put her down, but 
were always in the end won over by her perfectly 
unassuming manners. 

Another woman's husband was a man of violent 
temper, who insisted upon her working very hard ; and 
the result was continual bickering between the couple, 
which frequently led to the interchange of blows and 
bad language. The wife appealed on several occasions 
to her mother's people for protection ; but after trying to 
comfort her, they always sent her back to her husband. 
About a month after the marriage the husband ordered 
his wife one day to go and cut firewood on the hills ; 
but not having been accustomed to carry burdens, she 
declined to go, and received in consequence a severe 
beating. A little later she was again beaten and abused 
by her husband for not washing his clothes clean 
enough. About the same time she made use of a 
sum of 400 cash (not quite a shilling) belonging to 
her husband ; and when he discovered the fact, he gave 
her a sound thrashing with a stick, and vowed that he 
would repeat the treatment on the following day if she 
did not produce the money. A month passed, during 
which continued squabbling occurred between the man 
and his wife, the latter having frequently to go without 
food, and being threatened with a divorce for her bad 
behaviour. At last the woman, exasperated by the 
treatment she was receiving and dreading the disgrace 


Intimate China ^ 

of a divorce, determined to make away with her 
husband. A year before, while still unmarried, she had 
accompanied an old woman in the village on a herb- 
gathering expedition on the hills, and remembered her 
companion pointing out to her a poisonous plant, which, 
if eaten, cut asunder the intestines and caused sudden 
death. Having gone on several occasions to gather 
firewood, she kept careful watch for this particular plant, 
and succeeded in collecting a handful, which she hid 
away until she could find a favourable moment for 
making use of it. At last she found her opportunity 
one day when her father-in-law, her husband's brothers, 
and her sister-in-law all happened to be from home, and 
only she and her husband were left in charge of the 
house. Shortly after noon she began to prepare 
the evening meal, and poured over the vegetables the 
infusion obtained by boiling the poisonous plant. She 
handed his supper to her husband, left their portion for 
the remainder of the family, and then went out on the 
excuse of having to make some purchases. The father 
and his three sons returned shortly afterwards ; and 
being hungry after their day's work, they all partook 
heartily of the poisoned food. Symptoms of poisoning 
very soon followed, and the whole family was found by a 
neighbour lying on the floor In a state of great agony. 
Two of them were saved by means of emetics ; but the 
father, the woman's husband, and a brother of the latter 
all died the same night. The woman was found, and 
handed over to the authorities, who, after a protracted 
trial, In which she declared her Innocence, found her 


^ Punishment for Parricide 


guilty of the murder. She was condemned to death 
by the lingering process on two different counts, and 
would, as the law provides, receive some additional 
slashes of the knife at the time of the execution. All 
the poisonous herbs in the district were ordered to be 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

removed, so as to prevent the repetition of such a crime 
in future. When a parricide occurred in ancient times, 
the authorities used to order that the whole city, where 
such a hideous crime had been committed, should be 
razed to the ground ; and on the Yangtse the traveller 
sees the ancient site of the city of Chungchow on an 
island without now a house upon it, because of such a 

193 o 

Intimate China ^ 

crime, the city having by order been moved to the 
river-bank, where it now stands among its groves of 
waving bamboos. 

The following story tells again of wifely affection, 
and incidentally throws a little light upon Chinese 
clairvoyance, a subject which seems to attract more 
attention in England than in China now. 

A Nanking lady w^as sad, very sad. Her husband 
had left her for business far away, and had sent home 
only a few letters. Many times did she send word by 
his friends requesting him to return, but he did not 
come. At last, in despair, she called in a fortune-teller, 
who was supposed to be endow^ed with supernatural 
knowledge of ev^erything past, present, and future. 
After consulting his books, the fortune-teller's face 
assumed a thoughtful and anxious expression. In trem- 
bling accents he addressed the sad wife thus : " O lady, 
your husband has changed his sphere of business many, 
many times. Ill-luck has pursued him everywhere. 
Money he has now none ; but, what Is worse, he Is 
lying dangerously ill in a lonely Inn, hundreds of miles 
from here." The wretched lady was heartbroken, and 
began to weep copiously. The fortune-teller comforted 
her, and rapidly turning over the leaves of his mystic 
book, he joyously exclaimed, *' Saved!" Then he 
explained that a certain lucky star was obscured by 
a dark cloud ; and that If It could be made to shine 
again, her husband would rise from his bed of sick- 
ness, and make a great deal of money. About two 
shillings was the sum charged for working the miracle 


-^ Making sure of a Funeral 

of dispelling the dark cloud. While the fortune-teller 
was on his knees, earnestly praying his god to deliver 
the absent husband from the clutches of the evil one, 
who was obscuring the lucky star, the door was abruptly 
pushed open, and there, standing on the threshold with 
a bag over his shoulder, full of shoes of silver and 
gold bars, was the long-absent husband. The wife 
gave a cry of joy and rushed forward. The confused 
fortune-teller, terribly frightened, hurriedly sought an 
exit by the back door, but slipped, fell, sprained his 
ankle, and broke his head. The husband did not wish 
to mar the joy of his return by any harsh measures, 
and let off the now thoroughly wretched fortune-teller 
with a reprimand. 

Births, marriages, and deaths follow each other in 
all our newspapers. I will not say more about births 
than that the Chinese are all born with a round black 
mark about the size of a penny at the base of the spine. 
It disappears generally before they reach eight years old. 

As to deaths, all the money that is left from 
weddings may be said to be spent upon funerals, 
which are the grand moment of a Chinaman's life. 
Then Taoist priests are called in to officiate ; for whilst 
every one belongs to the three religions in China, 
each religion especially takes certain parts of life for 
its care. The best sites are reserved for graves ; the 
best wood is used for coffins ; the merriest music to 
our ears is that heard at funerals. But of all funerals of 
which I have heard, I think this one is the most amus- 
ing. A woman about fifty years old, fearing that her 


Intimate China ^ 

son, a worthless spendthrift, would not accord her a 
grand funeral after her death, hit upon the plan of 
enjoying one before that event. She fixed a day, 
notified her friends and relations to come dressed in 
mourning, hired many priests and monks and all the 
paraphernalia usual at funerals, including a splendid 
coffin and a green baize sedan-chair. Amidst much 
weeping and praying she was carried all about the 
city in the sedan-chair, followed by the coffin and 
surrounded by mourners. Can any one living, ever 
before or since, have been so perfectly happy ? For, 
as a rule, attaining the highest earthly bliss, we fear 
its loss or diminution ; but this woman had nothing to 
fear. She had had her funeral. 




How Chinese look upon Shanghai. — A Viceroy's 
Expedient. — Method of raising Subscriptions. — 
Deserving Deities. — Trustworthiness. — -Hunan Hero. 
— Marrying English Girls. 

I SSI ON ARIES generally say that the Chinese 
are frightfully immoral. So do the Americans 
and Australians, excluding them as far as they can 
from their respective countries. But, brought up on 
the English saying that " Hypocrisy is the compliment 
vice pays to virtue," I always think virtue must be 
in the ascendant in China for vice so to slink into 
corners and hide its head before it. There certainly 
is not the slightest outward appearance of vice in 
Chinese cities. And I have always understood that 
everywhere, except in the foreign settlements, where 
it is certainly not the case, very decided repressive 
measures are used. Shanghai, once the Model Settle- 
ment, is looked upon as a hotbed of corruption by 
Chinese fathers up-country, who say gravely they would 
not dare to send their sons there, whatever business 
advantages are offered, until their principles are quite 
firmly established. Up-country it is European morals 


Intimate China ^ 

that Chinese find as shocking as Australians find 
theirs. It is impossible for me to enter into details 
here ; but there are certain things, alas ! too customary 
among Europeans, which to every Chinaman are an 
abomination. It is well to bear this in mind, perhaps ; 
and it is to be hoped that increased intercourse may 
lead Europeans to think disgraceful what Chinese 
already think so, and Chinese to be bound by the 
European code where, if anywhere, it is higher than 
their own, rather than, as so often occurs, to lead each 
nation to accept the other's lower ideas. 

As new suggestions however, are always more 
interesting than trite generalisms, I must mention the 
peculiar measure devised in 1891 by his Excellency the 
Viceroy at Nanking to keep up the standard of morality 
among his writers and the higher class of employes. 
Shortly before, one of the composers of memorials had 
taken to leading a fast life, frequenting places not over- 
respectable. One day he leaned out of a wine-shop, 
and saw two men, dressed in black, standing quietly 
by his horse. He took no notice of the matter, but 
kept on drinking. When he left the place and walked 
up to his horse, the two strangers retired a pace or 
two. Climbing into the saddle, he rode slowly along, 
cooling himself in the evening breeze. He soon heard 
footsteps, and perceived the men were following him. 
His heated brain imagined fearful consequences. The 
mysterious personages might be bandits or secret 
society men bent on assassination or plunder. He 
whipped up his horse, and made for his official quarters 


^ Expedient for getting Contributions 

in the residence ; but his pursuers were fleet of foot, 
and kept up with his not very fast pony. On reaching 
the Viceregal residence, the writer called upon the 
guards to arrest the two bold men, who came up 
breathless. But the guards did not move to obey 
his orders, and the mysterious beings stepped up, 
saluted, and said, '' Sir, do not feel angry or appre- 
hensive. We are members of the Secret Police of his 
Excellency the Viceroy. We have received instructions, 
to follow any and all the officials and gentlemen con- 
nected with the office, and report to our master where 
they go, their actions, behaviour, and conduct." Then 
they turned, mingled with the crowd, and disappeared. 
Next day the writer's pony was reported to be for 
sale, and since that memorable evening he has not 
revisited his former haunts. Possibly this method 
might be adopted with advantage by any high official 
in England, who was as solicitous about the conduct 
of his subordinates as this Chinese Viceroy. 

Probably no one knows better than Li Hung-chang 
how to get hold of other people's money. Here is 
an idea of his for collecting contributions to a Famine 
Relief Fund. He furnishes a long list of subscriptions, 
mostly of ^150 each, from officials whose generosity 
was due to the promptings of their parents or other 
relatives now deceased. Each donor had been granted 
permission to erect an archway {pai fang) to the 
memory of the person, who first Inspired him with the 
idea of contributing to the relief of suffering humanity. 
Among those to whom this honour was accorded were 


Intimate China <^ 

the President and members of the Chinese club at 
Yokohama, whose joint contributions amounted to ^300. 
The west of China is exceptionally decorated with 
these memorial arches, generally erected to the memory 
of chaste widows and incorruptible officials, who, to 
judge by the arches, seem more numerous than one 
would otherwise have thought. I remember the in- 
terest with which we approached one in course of 
construction. It was a very hot day, and this pai 
fang was being erected on a slight eminence, where 
the people told us no rain had fallen for forty years, 
although thunder-showers refreshed the country all 
round it. We ate our luncheon under its shadow, and 
observed that it was one of Li Hung-chang's arches, 
erected to the memory of a dead man, the inspirer to 
an act of charity towards the famine-stricken. The 
Chinese are a people altogether guided and animated by 
memories. In the same year the Governor of Honan 
submitted a petition from the gentry and inhabitants of 
the town of Wensiang, in which they prayed for per- 
mission to erect a memorial temple to the late intendant 
of their circuit. This town, it seems, borders upon 
the Yellow River, from the ravages of which it had 
suffered terribly for a long succession of years. Two 
years before a movement was started by the local 
magistrate and the people for building a breakwater 
to serve as a barrier against the floods. " The Taotai, 
in whose jurisdiction the place was situated, took an 
active interest in the enterprise, and even went fre- 
quently in person to superintend the progress of the 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

-^ Deserving Saints 

work. The great difficulty experienced was the want 
of sufficiently large stones. Greatly to the astonishment 
of the whole community, a heavy storm of wind and 
rain deluged the country, and brought down an endless 
quantity of huge stones exactly suited to the purpose. 
The people naturally regarded the strange occurrence 
as a direct manifestation of divine power in aid of a 
great public undertaking, which they and their fore- 
fathers had been unable to complete during several 
centuries. The Taotai fell a victim to fatigue and 
over-exertion, and his death was deeply bewailed by 
the whole district. The Governor, In supporting the 
petition, mentioned a fact which proves the supernatural 
origin of the phenomenon. One of the stones, which 
was as large as a house, and shaped like a tortoise, 
was Inscribed with seal characters, only two of which, 
denoting 'work' and 'stone' respectively, could be 
made out. The breakwater was completed, and the 
safety of the district secured. As a token of their 
gratitude for the services of the Taotai, the petitioners 
begged that they might be permitted to erect a temple 
to his memory, at which the usual sacrifices should be 
offered. — Granted by Rescript y 

But it Is not only public benefactors and deserving 
officials who are rewarded by memorials. Deserving 
deities or patron saints also meet with recognition. 
Thus in 1891 an application was made to the Throne 
for two Imperial tablets, bearing his Majesty's sign- 
manual, to be suspended In the temples of the dragon- 
king and the god of fire at Chlwan-chow. The 


Intimate China ^ 

latter district, consisting of six villages, which con- 
tribute to the Exchequer some 10,000 taels, had no 
proper water system, and was entirely dependent for 
its supply of that precious commodity on the periodical 
rains. Of late years, whenever rain had not fallen in 
due season, prayers offered up at these two shrines 
had ever been graciously answered. Moreover, in the 
seventh moon of the previous year, just when the crops 
were ready for harvesting, a heavy fall of rain came on, 
and threatened to submerge the fields. But a visit on 
the part of the gentry and people of the neighbour- 
hood to the temple of the god of fire had the effect 
of dissipating the clouds and causing the rain to cease, 
so that the grain could be gathered in in due season. 
Two months later, when about to sow the second crop, 
a thorough soaking rain was necessary to prepare the 
ground for the seed ; but for days no rain fell, and the 
people greatly feared that they would be unable to sow. 
A visit to the temple of the dragon-king, however, had 
the desired effect, and dispelled all gloomy prospects 
of a dearth of food. 

It was in recognition of these gracious favours of 
the gods that the memorialist ventured to prefer this 
request, which was accordingly granted. Many people 
may laugh at this. It seems to me rather an act of 
faith of which we might find many parallels in Europe 
in the Middle Ages, and of which individually I 
should be glad to find further examples now. "Whom 
we ignorantly worship" will be a true description of 
man's part as long as he lives upon this earth with 


^9^ Considering Christianity 

darkened eyes. But it is only when he ceases to wor- 
ship that there seems to be Httle hope for him. There 
is Httle enough of worship in China as it is, and what 
there is naturally seems to us of Europe somewhat 
superstitious ; for the religions of China appear to 
have had their day, to have effected what they could 
for China, and to be passing away. Is it true that 
the youthful Emperor Kwang-shti was considering with 
his adviser Kang whether Christianity should not be 
adopted as the national religion, when he was pre- 
cipitated from the throne by the woman who rules 
China single-mindedly for her own advantage ? 

That crime is not very rife in China Is sufficiently 
shown by their having no police force. Foreigners 
are sometimes shocked by the severity of Chinese 
punishments, not realising that It Is our excellent police 
that enable us to mitigate our scale of punishments. 
But the Chinese are like women in this respect also. 
They afford an extraordinarily small percentage of 
criminals to the world's criminal roll, and of these the 
most part are for petty theft. In business dealings, 
unlike the Japanese, the Chinese keep to their word, 
even when It Is to their own disadvantage to do so. 
And merely saying, " Puttee book," without any signed 
and sealed written entry, held good as a legal transaction 
all through China, till, alas ! an old-established English 
firm, probably already foreboding the failure that after- 
wards overwhelmed It, repudiated a transaction of w^hlch 
there was no further record than the till then two 
sacred words. Since then Chinese, like other nations, 


Intimate China ^ 

have recourse to written documents ; but so high always 
is the sense of business obhgation among them, that 
each China New Year many men, unable to discharge 
their obligations, commit suicide rather than live dis- 
graced. This is the more remarkable among a nation 
that adulterates everything it knows how to, resorts 


to every business subterfuge, thinks not to lie foolish, 
and to be found out only stupid, not disgraceful. 
When, however, we denounce Orientals for want of 
truth, do we realise how untruthful we are ourselves, 
and that what shocks us is rather the different kind of 
falsity from that to which we are accustomed ? I have 
yet to find the English bootmaker or worker in fur, 
who can be relied upon to keep to his word as to 


^ Our Special Chinamen 

the day on which he has promised anything ; whilst 
I have met with more than one Chinese tailor, who 
may be relied upon to appear with his work finished 
to the very day and hour, his given word being sacred 
to him. The English tradesman thinks it wrong to 
lie about the past, the Chinese about the future. 

One of the most remarkable things about Chinese 
is that, whilst of course it is usual for people of other 
nationalities to denounce their bad qualities as a nation, 
there is hardly a European living in China who has 
not one or more Chinese whom he w^ould trust with 
everything, whom he would rely upon in sickness or 
in danger, and whom he really — if he spoke out, as we 
so seldom do — regards as the embodiment of all the 
virtues in a way in which he regards no European of 
his acquaintance. We rarely believe in one another's 
Chinaman ; but we are each of us absolutely convinced 
of the fidelity, trustworthiness, and shrewdness of 
our own particular Chinaman. Whilst among mis- 
sionaries life in China is generally sweetened by the 
recollection of some one Chinaman, at least, whose 
sincerity and holiness of life shine out to them as 
a bright example and beautiful memory. 

The merchants look askance at the missionaries' 
saints, and missionaries are very suspicious of the 
merchants' business employes and butlers. But a 
nation, that all through the land produces men, who 
so thoroughly satisfy their employers, cannot be called 
a decadent race ; nor, indeed, are any of the signs of 
decadence with which I am acquainted to be discovered 


Intimate China ^ 

among the great Chinese people, who appear ahvays 
hard-working, good-humoured, kindly, thrifty, law- 
abiding, contented, and in the performance of all duties 
laid upon them astonishingly conscientious. I have 
never known a servant shirk any task imposed upon 
him, because he was tired or ill, or because it was 
late at night. Let unexpected guests arrive, the 
Chinese servant always rises to the occasion, and the 
honour of the family is safe in his hands. " Oh, but 
we have always heard Chinese were good servants," 
some one remarks. Let me relate a story of another 
kind of virtue ! 

A Hunan man living at Hankow, and a Christian, 
was greatly troubled because his wife would bind their 
little girl's feet. At last he sent the child away to an 
American mission school at a distance. While she was 
there, a great wave of anti-footbinding enthusiasm 
passed over the school, and all the girls unbound their 
feet, his daughter among them. When she came home, 
he was delighted to find her able to walk, and to stand 
on her feet, and with healthy, rosy cheeks. After a 
while, however, he became aware that each day she 
was walking worse, and that it must be that once more 
her mother was inflicting the torture of binding upon 
her, worse than ever now the girl was older. Yet 
they had so often gone over the matter together with 
always the same result, that he shrank from remon- 
strating with his wife, till one day in a neighbouring 
cottage a woman said : "A nice one you are to talk, 
you who are seeing your own daughter daily lamed 


^^ Sacrificing a Pigtail 

before your eyes ! " Then he went home, and said 
to his wife : '' This thing must have an end. Not only 
have I the pain of seeing my daughter daily lamed, 
but I can no longer speak out for God ; my mouth 
is stopped by your handiwork." His wife replied, as 
so often before : " If you will cut off your queue, I 
will unbind our daughter's feet — yes, and my own too." 
"Do you mean what you say?" he asked quietly. 
Again and again she repeated her declaration that 
they must conform to custom if he did, and that if 
he gave it up so would they ; regarding it always as 
a thing impossible that he should part with that glory 
of a Chinaman, his long, glossy, plaited tail of hair. 
At last, when she had said it seven times, each time 
with increasing vehemence, her husband took up the 
large pair of Chinese scissors lying on the table, and 
there and then before her astonished eyes cut off his 
queue. The neighbours, in horror at what he had 
done, carried it ofC and in high excitement proceeded 
to unroll it like a great black serpent at the feet of 
one of the missionaries, who at first thought the Hunan 
man must have been in such violent anger as to lose 
all control over himself, or he would never have done 
what he had. But the man explained that it was not 
in anger, but because he saw no other way to save 
his child, having all in vain tried argument and entreaty 
with his wife. "It is true it is contrary to the law of 
the land," he said ; " but it is better I should offend 
against that than offend against my God." When I 
last saw him, he had the shock of upstanding hair, 

209 p 

Intimate China ^ 

that generally indicates in a Chinaman a desire to add 
to his queue. His wife had unbound her feet, and 
their daughter's feet had never been bound again. 
When last heard of, the three had all been out for a 
walk together. But people must have lived in, China 
to know what heroism this sacrifice of a pigtail really 
means. So far it has had no Imitators, and other 
Chinese hearing of It remain simply astounded. 

Before dismissing this subject of morals, It Is as well 
to add that any Englishwoman marrying a Chinaman 
In England would do well to ascertain first that he was 
unmarried, which Is most unlikely, as a Chinese father 
considers It a disgrace not to find a wife for his son 
so soon as he Is marriageable. Further, that even 
where this is the case, the life that would He before 
an English girl married to a Chinaman, If he were to 
take her Into real Chinese life, is such as one does not 
like to contemplate : she must in any case prepare to 
become the servant of her mother-in-law. In December, 
1898, there were, however, four young English girls, 
the youngest only seventeen, brought out by mail- 
steamers as the wives of Chinamen, and deserted In 
Shanghai, all without miOney, one even without clothes. 
Whilst sorry for the girls, I must own that In cases 
like this I feel more Indignation against their parents 
than against the Chinamen. There Is a degree of 
carelessness that seems worse than a crime. 



Fung shui. — Devastating Eggs. — Demon Possession. 
— Sacred Trees. — Heavenly Silk. — Ladder of Swords. 
— Preserving only Children. — God of Literature on 
Ghosts. — God of War.— Reverence for Ancestors. 

DIRECTLY that, leaving behind steamers, rail- 
ways, and Sundays, you step ashore at Ichang, a 
thousand miles up the river Yangtse, you find yourself 
in the land of superstition. Right opposite to Ichang, 
facing it from across the river, stands a pyramidal 
mountain six hundred feet high, in all its proportions 
resembling the Pyramid of Cheops. The people of 
Ichang say it menaces them, and, according to their 
belief in Fung shtn, or climatic influences (literally, wind 
and water), prevents their young men from passing 
their examinations, and makes all their wealth pass into 
the pockets of strangers. Just before I first arrived 
there in 1887, they had all taxed themselves, and built 
a many-storied temple on the top of the very highest 
hill behind the city, in order to keep the baleful pyramid 
in check ; and the subject of conversation amongst the 
peasants at that period, when not discussing the price of 
something or their last bargain, was always whether 


Intimate China ^^ 

that temple had been built on quite the right spot. 
'' I always said it ought to be on that other knoll, and 
turned a little more aslant," one would say. However, 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

though they have not yet grown rich, probably to be 
accounted for by some error of the kind, two of their 
young men the very next year after the building of 
this temple took their second degree — an event which 


-^ Wisdom of ''Fung shui " 

had not gladdened the neighbourhood for hundreds of 

It is very easy for us to laugh at Fung shui \ but 
it often strikes me that far more foolish than the 
Chinese belief is the absolute disregard of climatic 
influences shown in England. When the huge block 
of Queen Anne Mansions was building, I recollect 
applying for south rooms ; and noticing the late Mr. 
Hankey's expression as he jotted down a memorandum, 
I asked him what he had been writing. " Oh, only 
about five or six people have applied for south rooms," 
he said. " So I put you down as one of the eccentric 
lot. You'll find them hot, you know^ in the season." 
I ventured to remark that the sun went northwards 
in summer ; but Mr. Hankey w^as incredulous. Applying 
to a house agent in London for a small house with a 
south aspect, he said he really could not tell me of any 
off-hand, as he had never been asked for such a thing 
before, and had no notion how the houses on his list 
faced. But, stranger than this, when house-hunting 
with friends in the lovely Caterham district some years 
ago, we found that whenever we drove up to a house 
in high hopes, seeing it was situated on such an 
eminence as to command a really lovely view, we 
invariably found the house turned its back on the view, 
which often could not be seen from any of the windows. 
Although the Chinese in the course of centuries have 
made Ftmg shui into a superstition, surely their con- 
sideration of aspects, soils, water, etc., is wiser than 
our disregard of all such potent influences of nature ? 


Intimate China ^ 

It is, however, always easier to laugh than to learn ; 
and I see that I noted at the time : 

'' The other day, such a tumult here ! It turned out 
that some of the neighbours disapproved of the gable- 
end just added to the servants' quarters of our new 
house. A number of old women Insisted on dragging 
my husband Into their bouses to see. ' Look ! ' they 
said, ' your new gable points ! and points straight at our 
shrine. It will ruin us.' Greatly amused, he straightway 
said, ' It shall be curled in another direction as soon 
as possible.' The old women were at once propitiated 
and delighted. But so far it has not yet been curled, 
and they seem to have forgotten all about it." 

In other countries besides China an assurance that 
a thing Is be to done quite satisfies people. 

Fung shtii was the great obstacle to the erection 
of telegraph-posts, and is a difficulty in the making of 
railroads ; but It seems to be easily overcome by an 
official assurance that the Interference with it is of 
no consequence. The carefully chosen sites for houses 
show, however, how deep-rooted it is In the national 
life, the most unfortunate fact about It being that in 
their solicitude for the dead the Chinese generally 
assign the very best spots to graves, which must never 
be meddled with except at a change of dynasty ; and, 
unfortunately, when the Manchu Dynasty came In, they 
omitted to level the graves. It would be almost worth 
while to have another change of dynasty, If only for 
the purpose of restoring to the use of the living much 
of the best ground In China. 


^ A Dragon's Egg hatched 

A stranger Chinese belief is that when the phoenix 
and dragon of fable come together an egg is laid 
which leads to the devastation of the country. Such 
an Ggg was said to have been hatched at Matung, 
a little way below Chungking on the river. Certainly, 
the city magistrate went down to inspect the spot. 
It is the duty of all the officials to destroy these 
eggs all over China, their whereabouts being discover- 
able by the snow refusing to lie over them. But 
as we have mostly no snow in Chungking, perhaps 
that was held as an excuse for the officials ; for we 
did not hear of any being beheaded or otherwise 
punished for letting the be hatched. The magis- 
trate, indeed, refused to be drawn on the subject and say 
what he actually saw. ''All nonsense, all nonsense!" 
he said. One curious part of it was that we never 
should have heard of his visit and its object but for 
noting the extraordinarily heavy rain that seemed to 
pour and pour over Matung. We were many of us 
dwellers on the hill-tops that summer — though not at 
all after Mr. Grant Allen's fashion, I fancy ; and one 
of our daily entertainments was to watch the thunder- 
storms marching along the lower country, investing first 
one mountain, then another, dividing here, converging 
there. And one could not but notice how the most 
awful thunderstorms passed by all obstacles to concen- 
trate themselves on Matung. Commenting upon this 
as we sat in the starlight in the evening watching our 
other entertainment, the play of the lightning, we 
remarked it might be worth while to go to Matung to 


Intimate China <*- 

see what had happened there, and then were told of 
the magistrate's visit to Inspect the Ggg that had been 
hatched, and that before all these great storms, which 
we had looked down upon at intervals, in a small way 
being at times ourselves partakers. There evidently 
must therefore have been some striking Indication of 
coming calamity to call for an official visit ; and judg- 
ing by what we saw ourselves, that indication had 
been realised. "It is the people's own fault, if they 
build their houses In a river-bed. Of course they 
are washed away," said the magistrate. But how 
many were washed away we never knew. One often 
regrets the absence of a newspaper in the interior of 
China. Tw^ice in one week we saw in the distance great 
fires — saw the flames rise up, towering like a bonfire, 
spread, then after some time die out, a blackness 
settling down on what one Imagines were once happy 
homesteads. In England, next morning we should 
be reading all the particulars ; next day would follow the 
subscription list, after we had already sent our cast- 
off clothes, etc., to the sufferers. Thus would our 
sympathies be called forth at the same time that 
our interests were aroused. In China — nothing ! No 
more is heard of the conflagration we even our- 
selves witness, of the inundation to which we also — 
at least, our hill-tops did their part — may be said to 
have contributed. Is it not partly this that makes 
life in China so dull ? Is It possibly this also which 
leaves denizens In China looking so much younger 
than their years, their faces unmarked by the traces 


^ Surrounded by Spirits 

of emotion experienced, whether pleasurable or the 
reverse ? 

Materialistic though our worthy compradores (busi- 
ness managers) and invaluable boys (butlers) appear to 
us, with their expressionless faces and highly coloured 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

explanations of popular beliefs in racy pigeon English, 
yet in reality no people believe themselves more sur- 
rounded by spirits than do the Chinese. Unfortunately, 
their spirits are generally evil spirits, requiring cun- 
ning handling to frustrate their designs — as when at 
New Year's time you stick on your door a red paper 


Intimate China ^ 

announcing that some sage of old or other celebrity lives 
in this house. In all countries the general belief seems 
to have been that the devils are very easily outwitted. 
But it is noteworthy how this belief in evil spirits gains 
upon the foreigners in their midst. Dr. Nevius, one 
of the most high-minded and noblest missionaries I have 
come across, a delightful man of apparently most healthy 
mind in a healthy body, wrote a deeply interesting 
volume on T>einon Possession, giving instances to 
prove that this still exists in all its old Biblical terrors 
in China. I have known another missionary who is 
under the belief that by heartfelt prayer he himself 
was instrumental in driving out a demon ; also others, 
of good social position and first-class English education, 
who felt their own powers for good almost paralysed 
whilst in the west of China by the presence of active 
evil spirits. Nor have I been able to divest myself 
in certain temples of the belief that the air was full 
of them, though I spent a long, long summer's day 
there once, alone, trying either to dispel the idea or 
to determine that it was so. Matters like these, if we 
believe, we none of us like to speak about. Certainly, 
it is during residence in China — supposed generally to 
have such a materialising effect — that I have become 
so convinced of spiritual agencies as to believe this 
faith unshakable. Happily for me the spirits, of whose 
presence and help I cannot doubt, have been uniformly 
good. And believing in their care, it has been im- 
possible for me to be afraid in many circumstances with 
regard to which people often ask, "Were you not 


-^ Sacred Trees 

frightened ? " Yet I have been frightened, very much 
frightened too, at other times. Probably, to many this 
confession will seem to rob my account of all trust- 
worthiness. But all through this volume I try to write 
down what I have seen or think of things, always 
without asserting the correctness of my views. Some 
day we shall know ; meanwhile, "It seems so to me " 
appears to be the truest phrase with reference to 
things Chinese. 

To pass to lighter beliefs. In the west of China, 
at the foot of every fine old hoangko-tree, Ficus 
infectoria, a kind of banyan, is a little stone shrine, 
showing how at one time reverence was entertained 
for the spirit of this very beautifiil shade-tree, growing 
on the top of so many hills in the windless province 
of Szechuan, always alone, and often giving enough 
shade to shelter the whole village near it under its 
branches in summer evenings ; whilst in the autumn 
in the east of China, when the air is full of floating 
masses of gossamer, the Chinese say it is the '' thread 
of niang-niang,'' or " heavenly silk." By the wayside, 
everywhere throughout China, the traveller comes upon 
pretty little shrines with one or two incense-sticks 
giving out a sweet fragrance ; and if ever the whole 
land is converted to a higher, purer faith, I cannot but 
hope that these graceful little shrines may not be done 
away with, but consecrated anew with a figure of the 
Virgin Mother and Infant Saviour, or a crucifix, or 
a figure of some high and holy man of old, an ensample 
to us of these latter days, that so, like as in the 


Intimate China ^ 

neighbourhood of Meran, the peasant may feel called 
^o offer upon it his beautiful white gardenia flowers, or 
a bunch of pink azaleas from the mountain-side, or 
a blossom of the gorgeous red dragon-claw flower, 
or even a white tea blossom or wild camellia, and^ so 
doing, pray to Him above all. Whom they, as we, believe 
even now to see all they do, and Who, whatever our 
belief about Him, must for ever remain the same. 

But I am wandering again and again into the sacred 
groves of religion, and must return into the devious 
paths of superstition. When a cargo-boat of my 
husband's once became a complete wreck, he could not 
help, even under the depressing influence of the news, 
being amused to hear his Chinese manager saying : 
" They would do it. They would do it. I told them 
not to. We must never again carry a cargo of dried 
shrimps. Of course, their spirits spoke to the spirits 
of their brother-fishes in the river, and they raised 
the waves that they might jump up and release their 
imprisoned relations. Well, there's a good deed done : 
a lot of lives set free. But we must not take shrimps 
again. You see, it is a dead loss. And I said so from 
the first." 

According to a Chinese paper, the inhabitants of 
Chaochow Fu, of which Swatow is the seaport, are 
very superstitious. When one of them is seriously ill, 
instead of getting a doctor to attend him, he invites 
a certain set of priests to perform jugglers' feats and 
recite mysterious incantations. Thereby, it is believed, 
a cure can be effected. Ascending a ladder of swords 

-^ A Ladder of Swords 

is considered a very effectual mode of treatment. Two 
thirty-feet poles are made to stand in an upright 
position, fixed firmly in the ground parallel to each 
other. One hundred and twenty sharp swords, with 
their keen edges upward, are tied to the two poles 


like the rungs of a ladder. Some days before the 
ceremonies are to be performed notices are freely- 
distributed, and on the given day thousands gather 
tor the sight. A young priest, dressed in a fantastic 
costume, advances to the foot of the ladder, chanting 
incantations, and making passes with a knife which he 
holds in his hand. Suddenly he steps on the sharp 

Intimate China ^ 

edges of the swords forming the rungs of the ladder, 
and climbs rapidly. As the young priest has bare 
feet, it is a wonder that he can step without being 
injured on the edges of the swords. When he reaches 
the highest point, he deliberately sits on a sword, and 
throws down a rope. The sick man's clothing is tied 
to this, and is drawn up to the top. The young priest 
then shakes the clothing to the winds, burns magical 
scrolls, and recites incantations. He cries aloud the 
name of the patient, who is called in such ceremonies, 
" Redeem the soul." After these performances, the 
clothing is let down, and the patient puts it on. Taking 
a piece of red cloth from his pocket, the young priest 
waves it over his head like a flag, at the same time 
dancing and leaping from one pole to another. He 
places several sheets of paper money on the edges of 
the swords, steps on them, and the sheets fly in all 
directions, cut in the centre. He thus shows that the 
weapons are sharp, and that his position is by no 
means an enviable one. Exhausting himself at last, 
he descends with all the agility at his command. 
'' Sometimes under such treatment the patient manages 
to recover," adds the Chinese paper naively enough. 

In i8go such a curious account was given in the 
North China Daily News of an incident that had 
just occurred in Western Shantung, the province the 
Germans are now trying to make their own, that, as 
I know nothing further of it, I think it is better to 
extract it from the paper : 

*' A certain man had a daughter, who was an only 

^ Calling a Boy a Girl 

child, and for whose life the parents entertained the 
greatest fears. A boy, to be sure, would have been 
much more precious ; but, as the saying runs, ' When 
cinnabar is not to be had, even red earth is valuable/ 
Having a neighbour named Chang who had many 
daughters, it occurred to the parents of the solitary 
child that it would be a good plan to have her ' adopted ' 
into the family of the man with several daughters as 
one of them. This ' adoption,' it must be understood, 
is a pure fiction, and consists in nothing more than in 
calling the adopted child by the surname of the family 
into which she is adopted. Thus, in this case, the 
parents' surname being Liu, the girl, who was a mere 
infant, was called ' Chang Four,' as a milk-name, 
denoting that she was technically number four in the 
Chang family series of girls. The evil fates, perceiving 
that the Chang family had such a supply of daughters, 
would let her grow up in peace, and thus the Liu 
family would contrive to outwit the malignant spirits \ 
The Liu girl never went to the Chang family to live, 
and had no relations with them of any kind, except 
that the family exchanged presents and calls on feast 
days, as if the conditions were those of a betrothal. 
In fact, the Chang family would be styled by the 
Liu family as their ' adopted relatives by marriage.' 
Devices of this kind, to cheat the fates in regard 
to boys, are very common, the lads being called 
' ya-t'ao,' for girl, or sometimes ' lao-p^o,' to indicate 
that they are old married women. But these cun- 
ning schemes cannot, however, always be regarded as 


Intimate China ^ 

complete successes ; for in this case the only daughter 
died, and so the ' dry relationship ' came to an end." 

Around the god of literature all kinds of legends 
have crystallised. He is said to have lived through 
seventeen lives. He is also said in his own person 
to have completed the perfection of the three religions 
of China. He did all manner of marvellous things, 
besides driving away a tiger that threatened a 
messenger, under promise from the latter to distribute 
five thousand copies of the tract on rewards and punish- 
ments. Perhaps the Psychical Society might learn 
something from his chapter on ghosts : 

'' A ghost is the corrupt part of man, and man is 
the pure part of a ghost. 

*' A man can be a ghost, and a ghost can be a man. 
The man and the ghost are mutually related. Why 
separate man and ghost ? 

'' The ghost becomes a man, then man must become 
a ghost. 

'* If a man does not become a ghost, he will surely 
be able to perfect manhood. 

'' It Is difficult for a ghost to become a man, because 
it has fallen to ghosthood, and because it has lost 

'' A man is a ghost ; a ghost is a man : but all men 
are not ghosts, neither is every ghost a man. 

" Those who can be respectful without feeling 
ashamed, who can be submissive without deception, 
who can obey to perfection the rule of life, and are 
able to preserve their natural force unabated, secretly 


By Mrs. Archibald Utile. 

^ Representing the Dead 

cherishing growth, will become Buddhas or Genii, and 
not ghosts." 

Probably a great deal is lost in this translation ; but 
the phrase to be '' submissiv^e without deception " is 
certainly noteworthy. 

The god of war has not passed through so many 
vicissitudes ; but it seems that in his lifetime he was 
a merchant noted for probity and liberality, and it is 
in this character that his picture is to be found in all 
self-respecting business firms to this day as an example 
of what a merchant should be. Then as the centuries 
passed by, he was canonised as the god or guardian 
saint of war, and his last change was being made 
the tutelary deity of the present dynasty. It is a great 
question, however, whether the Chinese can properly 
be said to have either gods or idols^ or whether it 
would not be more correct to say they make and set 
up images of men canonised as guardian saints, and 
whose spirits are supposed to be present where proper 
reverence is shown to their images. According to 
Dr. Edkins, at the feasts in honour of the dead, whether 
simply ancestors or famous men of old, the dead man 
is now represented by a tablet ; but by ancient rules 
a living representative was required, and preferably 
a grandson. In the time of the Hia Dynasty he stood. 
Under the Shang Dynasty — from 1800 to 1200 B.C. — 
he sat. Under the Chow Dynasty there would be six 
representatives of the deceased ancestors, who were 
ail treated as guests, and partook of the feast. They 
had the strange idea that only thus could the patriarch 


Intimate China «#- 

of the clan be kept from extinction ; for they thought of 
the soul as breath, liable to be dispersed as air. They 
called such a representative of the dead "the corpse," 
or, more correctly, ''the image of the soul." It is hard 
to say whether such a practice is more material or 

Mencius describes images as at first made of grass 
and rushes, and then of wood, "to be buried with the 
dead in order to provide the deceased with servants 
to wait upon him in the other world." But not in his 
writings, nor in any of the classics, are there any indica- 
tions of worshipping images or idolatry. Probably 
these images were a survival of human sacrifices in 
more ancient times. Paper representations of houses, 
servants, horses, money, are now burnt at stated festivals, 
in order to supply the dead with all they need. And 
for about a month before the appointed day, all through 
China, the eldest grandson of each family may be seen 
busy making out lists of all the ancestors entitled to 
such gifts, and writing letters to be burnt with them. 
Then on the appointed day the feast Is spread, chop- 
sticks are placed, wine-cups are filled, all for the dead 
dear ones. Thus are the superstitions or religious 
observances of the Chinese knit with their every-day 
life ; for the living In the end eat the feast, though the 
wine is commonly poured out upon the ground as a 
libation. Then comes the great day when all the family 
goes out as a great picnic party to the family graves. 
The best clothes are put on, and a long day Is spent 
In the country In junketing and gossip. All the environs 


-Pi Visiting the Family Graves 

of a Chinese city — for the environs are always the grave- 
yards — are alive with gaily dressed parties of people, 
till the appearance presented is that of a great fair ; for 
naturally booths are erected for the sale of eatables and 
drinkables as well as of offerings all along by the 
wayside. The temples are crowded ; the priests receive 
offerings. Every one goes home at night with much 
the same expression as English people after a Bank 
Holiday. On the whole, the Chinese festival appears 
the holler and more fraught with sentiment of the two. 
Naturally, this festival Is the culminating-point of 
ancestral worship. But it does not seem difficult to see 
how reverence for ancestors might be made altogether 
Christian, the natural outcome of the fourth command- 
ment ; nor how these feasts for the dead might be made 
very much the same as the Jour des Morts in Paris, 
or, indeed, something higher and yet more Christian. 
They are inextricably knit with the belief that the dead 
father's spirit floats round and watches over his children 
after death ; and thus is the principle of noblesse oblige, 
or respect for ancestors, carried Into every, even the 
poorest, household of China. 




European Prejudice. — French Fathers. — ItaUan 
Sisters. — Prize-giving. — Anti-Christian Tracts. — 
Chinese Saints and Martyrs. 

PEOPLE can hardly fairly discuss the question ot 
missionaries without deciding definitely first of 
all whether they wish the Chinese to become Christians 
or not. And as I do not know what may be the views 
of those who read this book, I think I had better 
here cite impressions as to the prejudice against them, 
written after I had only spent a few years in the East ; 
for the prejudice against missionaries is really one of 
the most amusing things in China. 

'' They all hang about Chefoo. That is the sort of 
place that suits them. A nice comfortable house, and 
nothing to do! Just about suit me too! I'd like to 
find a merchant's clerk who did as little as one of 
these self-devoted men, who have given up everything," 
is a little speech I heard one man make to three 
others one day, apparently expressing the sentiments 
and experience of all. Yet take Chefoo, the very place 
thus pointed out, and what do you find there ? There is 
not a Shanghai man who knows him who does not say : 


Exceptional Men 

*' Oh, Dr. Nevius ! Oh ! but he's quite an exceptional 
man. He does more good than all the others put 
together, I believe. You don't fancy other missionaries 
are like him?" Or, ^' Oh, Dr. Williamson! Oh! but 
that's a man quite unlike the common," or, as I heard 

Bv Mrs. Archibald Little. 

another day, *' That's a man one really likes to hear 
talk about religion." 

It is just the same, it you go up Hankow way. 
'' Mr. Barber ! Ah ! but he is a thorough gentleman ! 
A University man ! Seventeenth Wrangler, you know, 
and a splendid all-round man — good at cricket, and foot- 
ball, and everything." " Mr. Hill ! You won't meet 
another man like him in a hurry. Why, he is a man 


Intimate China ^ 

of independent means ; doesn't draw a penny from the 
Mission. There is hardly a good cause all over the 
world which that man does not give to. He is wearing 
himself out, though " ; or if the speaker be a little 
enthusiastic — they are enthusiastic sometimes in the 
outports : " That man is a real apostle." 

Then again: "You don't know who that man is? 
Why, he was the champion wrestler till he came out 
here on mission work — wore the Border belt for two 
years. Some of the young bloods in Shanghai thought 
a missionary couldn't do much, and challenged him when 
he first came out. Didn't he punish them, though, and 
said, ' You see I am trying not to hurt you ! ' Why, 
he could have broken every bone in their bodies, if 
he had let himself" 

Or again : *' Mr. John ! Now that man does real 
good. He has worked away for years, and every one 
must respect him. His is real solid work." 

Then again, Mr. Bailer of Ngankin. He is only 
to be named for every one who knows him to burst 
out into a eulogy. Mr. Studd's cricket renown is too 
wi dely spread not to make him exceptional from the 
outset ; but those who have come across him in China 
seem already to have found out other things yet more 
noteworthy about him. 

Thus the conversation goes on about pretty well 
every missionary any one knows anything about ; and 
yet it winds up as it began : '' But the missionaries 
generally are quite different, — hang about and make 
believe — and save money — and go home ! " These 


^ Girl Missionaries 

typical missionaries no one seems to have ever met ; 
yet every one who has been to China must agree one 
hears plenty about them. It begins on the voyage 
out, when you are told about the poor girls — the 
enthusiastic, misguided young girls they lure out to 
wretchedness, nobody knows where. *'Clap them into 
Chinese dress the moment they arrive, and send them 
off up-country, where there is not a single European, 
in carts and all sorts of miserable conveyances. That's 
what they do. Why, the poor girls don't know them- 
selves where they are going to." 

This is the oft-repeated tale. And it is certainly 
highly probable that newly arrived missionaries, whether 
men or women, cannot pronounce the name of the place 
they are going to, nor even at first remember it. But 
there seemed some sound common sense in what an 
elder missionary said the other day : " Youth enables 
women to bear many hardships, under which they 
would break down in later life. And youthful enthu- 
siasm carries many a young missionary over the first 
two years of Chinese life, where a woman of forty 
could not bear the change of climate and food. 
Besides, if, as is most likely, they become the wives 
of missionaries, there is a far more reasonable hope of 
a happy married life when the wife is already well 
accustomed to China and its ways before under- 
taking the cares and duties of a wife, than when she 
is brought out fresh from England and has to face all 

However, Shanghai so far keeps up its old character 


Intimate China ^ 

for gallantry, that it never has a word to say against 
the lady missionaries, unless sometimes in a grumbling 
tone: '* Did you ever really see a pretty one?" But, 
then, every one has. Captains speak rather sorrowfully 
of this, that, and the other who came out with them. 
And young men who go to church (young Shanghai 
does go to church a little ; it is the men past their prime 
who only ''have seats"), — young Shanghai speaks senti- 
mentally of some fair apparition who looked so lovely 
in loose-fitting white and blue, and begins to question 
whether Chinese dress is not, after all, the most becoming. 
Certainly, fair hair looks all the fairer and softer above 
the loose-fitting clothes more generally associated with 
coarsest black. 

And all the while the missionaries come in increasing 
numbers. With each freshly arriving steamer the cry 
is, " Still they come ! " till China promises fair to be the 
best spiritually seen after country outside Christendom. 
Yet no missionary ever comes to the Europeans, 
whose spirituality seems to have so withered for want 
of exercise, that they resent nothing more than the idea 
that they could want a missioner to minister to their 
spiritual necessities or perchance have no spiritual wants. 

Yet no account of Shanghai would be other than 
most incomplete which did not treat of the missionaries. 
They are a set apart, well known to one another, un- 
known .for the most part to other Europeans, full of 
information about the China towns and Chinese gene- 
rally, and abounding in racy anecdotes. How much 
good they do, who can estimate ? They are certainly 


-^ Jesuit Training 

most refreshing to meet with, having a purpose in Hfe, 
and reminding us sometimes that, as Faber says, 
" There are souls in this world that have the gift of 
finding joy everywhere." 

But not all. The climate is trying ; Chinese society 
Is not of the liveliest ; and there are — of course there 
always must be — a certain number of missionaries who 
do not seem quite the right kind of persons to have 
come out. How should It be otherwise? But It Is a 
question whether that Is more the fault of those of the 
Inferior sort who come, or of those superior people who 
stay behind. But, setting aside this vexed question, 
the Roman Catholic missionaries do not appear nearly 
as cheerful and pleased with their surroundings as the 
Protestants, Nor, indeed, does one quite see what they 
have to make them happy — except, of course, always 
the love of God. 

One time going up-river, after Chinkiang the saloon 
presented a picture of pigtalled Frenchmen — Jesuit 
Fathers In white Chinese clothes. As Jesuits are not 
allowed to go up-country till after a long preliminary 
training, and do not become full Jesuit Fathers till 
after at the least eight and not uncommonly fifteen 
years of preparation, if they are not far more skilled 
missionaries than those of the various denominations 
of Protestants, it would seem to show that in spiritual, 
unlike carnal, warfare training and discipline avail 
nothing. They reckon some one hundred thousand 
converts In Klangnan. In some Instances they have 
whole villages of Christians ; but although Christians, 


Intimate China ^ 

they say it must be remembered these villages are 
Chinese still. 

How merrily the French Fathers chatted over their 
coffee! But at the one word "France" every man 
waxed sorrowful ! They say, however, they do not suffer 
from mal du pays, as do the Italians, many of whom 
have to go home, in consequence, sick with sorrowing. 
Not to be forgotten, however, is that French priest 
at Peking who, just returned from a long sojourn up- 
country, at the one word "France" broke down com- 
pletely, and could 7iot recover himself. And once more 1 
felt a tightening at the heart, thinking of that large house 
building at Ichang to receive Italian Sisters — simple, 
loving-hearted women, who for others' sins, not their 
own, will live and die so far away from, that loved 
Italy for which Filicaja wished: "Ah! wert thou but 
more strong ; or if not that, less fair ! " The life of 
Italian Sisters in China seems altogether too sad. They 
all get sick ; they cannot love the people ; they long 
for Italy ; and till now they have been obliged to bind 
the feet of the little girls confided to them, yet unable 
to bear the pain for them. But the French priests, too, 
seem to have nothing to look forward to, and their 
lives are more comfortless than certainly English people 
at home have any idea of I recollect one French 
priest in a most remote village showing me — half 
excusing himself, half proudly — his one great luxury, 
a little window with glass panes he had put in near his 
writing-desk, so as to see to read and write till later 
in the evening. There was barely a chair of any kind 


^ Isolation of Roman Catholic Priests 

to sit down on in his large barracklike room. He 
showed me a set of photographs of his native village in 
France ; but I noticed he never dared glance at it him- 
self while we were there. We were the first Europeans 
to visit the place during the three years he had been 
there, with the exception of an old priest, who once 
a year came three days' journey across the mountains 
to see how he was going on. By comparison, the life 
of Protestant missionaries seems so joyous ; indeed, I 
have never been able to see why it should not be an 
exceptionally pleasant one — barring illnesses always. 

The coming New Year was casting its shadow 
before it in Chungking in the shape of gaudy pictures 
festooned about the streets, crackers of rejoicing by 
night and by day, and sad-faced young men wanting to 
realise on the family gold ornaments or picture-books 
by old masters offered at impossible prices. It cast its 
shadow also in other ways. The mission schools were 
breaking up, and the missionaries themselves going out 
to schwa, i.e. enjoy themselves in the country. Having 
been kindly invited to be present at the breaking 
up of the Friends' Girls' School, I noticed one or two 
things that appear worth recording. 

Of course, I know missionary labours are popularly 
supposed to be the one kind of work on which we 
all of ** the world outside " are qualified to pass 
discriminating judgment without ourselves requiring 
any preparation for so doing. A man may race across 
China as fast as he is able, and it is he who knows 
whether the missionaries are wasting their efforts on 


Intimate China ^ 

ungrateful soil, or whether opium does or does not 
disagree with the Chinese constitution, although he 
would hesitate to express an opinion on any such 
difficult question as whether a certain soil were suited 
for growing opium, or whether a merchant would be 
well advised to ship hides for the Shanghai market. 
Questions like these require specific knowledge. Not 
so the question whether missionaries in China are 
doing good. Notwithstanding which I must further 
premise that, just as when the new railways begin I 
individually should not feel in a position to say the 
navvies' work was being wasted because I saw no 
rails, so I do not feel in a position to say whether even 
the missionaries I know best are spending ineffectual 
toil because I do not see many Christians. 

Judged by this test, indeed, what wanton extrava- 
gance might not the Shanghai Cathedral be pronounced ! 
To some follower in our friend Dr. Morrison's footsteps 
I commend the calculation of the cost of its services to 
be divided by the number of converts thereby made. 
The sum would probably not be a difficult one, though 
the result might not be gratifying. For it costs more 
to redeem souls, etc. 

But to return to twenty-six little girls, who were 
not converts. They passed an examination in the 
Old Testament, as it appeared, most creditably, although 
the eldest were thirteen. There was no hesitation in 
the answers, as one heard them affirming Jezebel was 
not a good woman, and telling about the hair by 
which Absalom was caught in the tree. And, after 


^ A Mission School 

all, Jezebel and Absalom lived nearer to them than 
to us, and at least in their own quarter of the world. 
It is really odder to hear village children in England 
telling about the Old Testament kings, though it seems 
odder to hear Chinese children doing so. The younger 
children were also examined. Five little round-about 
bodies — for they were pretty well as thick as they were 
long — aged only six, repeated a hymn. Other hymns 
were repeated by other little detachments. All this was 
not surprising. But I was surprised when the first class, 
being led up to an outline map of Africa without names, 
called out Congoland, Madagascar, Natal, and the like 
as the examiner pointed. They did the same by Asia, 
cheeringly shouting out Japan, and equally readily in- 
dicating China. If into these little girls' heads it really 
had penetrated that there were other kingdoms in the 
world besides their own, they were in so far better 
taught than most of the literati of the land, and no 
knowledge would seem more to be desired for a China- 
man just now. After this the usual eye-trying needle- 
work was exhibited, under protests from the European 
teacher that any one's eyes should be so tried, yet in this 
she felt obliged to conform to the fashions of the country. 
But what struck me most (for it is the one matter 
on which I really felt qualified to form an opinion) 
was the expressions of the children. They were inter- 
esting, they were attractive, simply because the mind 
in them evidently had been aroused, and was working. 
The blank, dead-wall Chinese stolidity was gone. What 
may be the end of those children, what may be the 


Intimate China ^ 

outcome of it all, it is not for me to say ; nor how 
far it is right to teach little girls who are not Christians 
Christian hymns. There are plenty of beautiful hymns 
they could learn, avoiding those about a Christ for 
whom they have no reverence. But one thing is 
clear : for good or for evil those little girls are with 
their awakened intelligences in a perfectly different 
position from those around them ; and if their educa- 
tion is carried further forward — about which there 
are many difficulties in China — they will be in an in- 
creasingly critical position. And then seems to come 
the great danger. If they become Christians, well and 
good ; they will have the ethics of Christianity to guide 
their daily life. But if not, removed from Buddhist 
influences, yet more in need of a guide than those 
around them, because themselves more susceptible of 
outside influences, one feels a certain uneasiness about 

The proceedings wound up with what certainly 
seemed to give great pleasure : a gift of an article 
of clothing for every little girl from one member of 
the Mission, and then the great ceremony of choosing. 
Little collections of presents, sent out by the Missionary 
Helpers' Union, had been carefully sorted out and 
arranged upon the table, — a doll, a needle-book full of 
needles, an emery cushion, and a bag perhaps on one ; 
woollen muffettees and a picture-book on another ; and 
so on. The little girl who had most marks had first 
choice, and so on to the last, who had no choice at 
all, said the kindly lady teacher in great distress, her 


-^ Choosing Prizes 

heart evidently aching for the Httle one, who must sit 
by and see all the best things chosen from before her 
eyes. " But she could have got more marks ;• it is 
her own fault," she added indignantly, the severity of 
the teacher once more gaining the upper hand ; for 
this lady, young though she still was, was not a mere 
novice, but was teaching in England in a large and 
well-known Friends' School in the west country before 
ever she came to China, and came to China with the 
distinct purpose to teach little girls ; into which work 
she appeared to put her whole heart, until ill-health 
forced her to come home. Some of the little girls had 
evidently studied the presents well beforehand, and 
came up to choose with their minds made up, making 
the Chinese reverence all round and up and down, 
then off to their mothers to put their treasures in safe 
keeping before going back to their seats. But it was 
pretty to see the indecision on some childish faces, 
growing redder and redder as first they pressed a 
white wool doll to their little bosoms, then fondled 
lovingly one in grey silk. All the dolls had been 
carefully dressed to suit Chinese notions of etiquette, 
with sleeves well down to the wrist, and the longest 
possible lace-trimmed drawers under their long dresses. 
But one wondered if the little Chinese children would 
not have preferred Chinese-clad dolls to nurse. 

Anyway, each year, being presented with such useful 
and tempting-looking foreign gifts, although certainly 
not intended that way, must predispose the little girls 
to wish to buy foreign things when they grow up, 

241 R 

Intimate China ^ 

recollecting the delight that foreign things gave them as 
children. In this way all the trouble of the Missionary 
Helpers' Union, formed of children at home, thus early 
trained to interest themselves in missions by being 
led to work for them, may have commercial results not 
dreamed of by the little workers. With its reflections 
my account seems nearly as long as the little ceremony. 
But I must not omit one feature of it. The Chinese 
mothers sat on benches all round, flushing with pride 
as their children distinguished themselves, and the 
Mission ladies sat in front behind the prizes. Then in 
came all the Mission babies, with their faces so start- 
lingly clean by comparison with the Chinese as to look 
like beings from another sphere, rosy, and kicking 
about their white fleecy shawls and other pure white- 
nesses. Disdainful, indeed, the babies appeared, and 
were themselves probably the crowning feature of the 
show ; for the Chinese certainly delight in foreign babies, 
and are never tired of examining them. I cannot 
emulate A7t Australian through China, and reckon up 
the cost per head ; but I think the whole proceeding 
must have resulted in a certain amount of friendly 
feeling, and some of joy. Can we confidently 
say even as much of the Marlborough-Vanderbilt 
wedding ? 

There is, however, besides the climate, another sad 
element in life in China, and that is the dislike of 
the Chinese to foreigners and distrust of them. 

It was sad to hear, shortly after this prize-giving, 
that there were again anti-foreign placards out on 


Offending Chinese .4isthetic Feeling 

the walls of 
Chengtu, the 
capital of the 
province, of a 
very violent 
descripti on, 
and that the 
Canadian Mis- 
sion had al- 
read\^ been 
more than once 
the object of 
hostilities in a 
small way. 
Yet one would 
like to know 
whether in 
their new 

buildings they 
were consult- 
ing Chinese 
taste, or build- 
i ng some 
hideous Euro- 
pean erection 
which must offend the aesthetic feelings of every China- 
man that sees it. In this city of beautiful roof-curves a 
foreign house, without any proportion being observed 
between its windows and wall space, without any 
sweep of overhanging eaves, and built as no architect, 



Intimate China ^ 

European or Chinese, would build it, strikes a dissonance 
like a wrong note in music, and must be very irritating 
to those attuned from childhood to the laws of beauty 
in architecture. Why we should insist upon the Chinese 
swallowing our ugly clothes and ugly houses before 
they receive our beautiful gospel of glad tidings, I 
never can understand, except by reminding myself that 
that gospel never came from Shanghai or New York, 
but from that very Asia where still truth and beauty 
seem to Asiatics synonymous and interchangeable. 

The views of the Chinaman, who has done more 
than any man of this generation to stir up anti-foreign 
feeling among his countrymen, are more to the point, 
however, than any words of mine. Chou-han has for 
years been circulating tracts of so offensive a nature 
against Christians that I cannot further refer to them ; 
but here is Chou-han's own letter on the subject to 
T'an, the Governor of Hupeh. It is interesting, in 
connection with this letter, to remember that it was 
T'an's son who was among the first six beheaded 
by order of the Empress-Dowager when she deposed 
her nephew, the Emperor, and that T'an, the father, 
either died of grief or killed himself, heartbroken on 
hearing of his son's death. 

This is Chou-han's letter to him : 

" O dob 67' 30/i^, 1 89 1, 

'* Venerable and Respected Sir. 

" Multiplicity of affairs leaves me but little leisure 
for letter-writing, and it is a long time since I have 
written to inquire after your health. I would humbly 


-^ Anti-Christian Propaganda 

congratulate you on the ten thousand happinesses which 
attend your downsitting and uprising, and on the abun- 
dance of your virtuous deeds and meritorious achieve- 
ments. With regard to the anti-heresy pubHcations, let 
me state that they are all of them printed and dissemi- 
nated by myself, in concert with the officials and gentry, 
both civil and military, who have the management of 
aftairs connected with the Benevolent Halls. Some time 
ago a relative of mine, T'ang Chenpih, styled Mung- 
liang, a native of Siangtan, was going to Wuchang, and 
we unitedly entrusted him with a hamperful of these 
publications for general distribution. After this a special 
messenger was sent by T'ang to Siangtan, to inform 
us that he was imprisoned on account of what he had 
been doing, and praying that we would come to his 
rescue, etc., etc. This is amazing ! If, indeed, it be 
wrong to attack this depraved heresy, then I am, so 
far as the matter of fabricating words and creating 
disturbances is concerned, the chief culprit. In all 
reason, you ought to report me to the Throne, deprive 
me of my official rank, and arrest me as a criminal. 
What has my relative T'ang to do with the matter ? 
And even should you take off his head and hang it up 
as a warning to all, how could you by so doing put a 
stop to the thing itself? 

'' My special object in writing now is to beg of 
you to consult with the Viceroy, and set at liberty 
my relative T'ang and every one of his companions, 
who together with him are unjustly implicated ; also 
to return to them every article of property which 


Intimate China ^ 

may have been possibly taken away from them. I 
beg of you to prepare a joint statement of facts, and 
to impeach me in a memorial. I will respectfully wait 
my punishment in the provincial capital ; I will certainly 
not run away. If, however, your Excellencies will treat 
good and honest people like fish and pork, and put me 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

aside and not examine me, then I will go at once to 
Peking, and cry at the gate of his Majesty's Palace. 
I swear that I will with my own body requite the bene- 
ficence of Yau, Shun, Yu, T'ang, Wen, Wu, Cheu- 
kung, Kung, and Meng, together w4th the beneficence 
of his Majesty the Emperor, the Empress- Dowager, 
and all the ancestors of the Great Dynasty. I shall 


■^ Faithful Converts 

certainly not allow my relative T'ang and his injured 
companions to hand down a fragrant name to all coming 
ages alone. I am anxiously looking for your reply, so 
as to decide whether to proceed or to stop. It is for 
this I now write, also wishing you exalted enjoyment. 

" Your younger brother and fellow-countryman Chou- 
han writes with compliments. Chou-han, imperially 
honoured with the Second Rank, and expectant Taotai 
in Shensi, a native of Ninghiang, now at his own village 
recruiting his health." 

Translated by the Rev. Dr. Griffith Jo lui. 

One cannot but admire Chou-han for his outspoken 
boldness, as also for his persistence in opposing what 
he believes to be a depraved heresy. On the other 
hand, turning to his tracts, it is difficult to believe that 
any one could circulate them with a good intention. 

People who do not believe the Chinese would be any 
better for becoming Christians can be but little inter- 
ested in missionaries. Those who, on the other hand, 
really believe we have glad tidings to tell to them may 
doubt whether quite the right means are being taken 
to deliver the message. If every one who went out to 
China lived as a Christian should, it clearly would have 
a far more striking effect ; but whilst Europe remains 
what it is, that seems at least as unattainable as convert- 
ing the Chinese. Of those who are converted, I have 
come across thousands of Roman Catholics who have 
borne the burning of their houses and devastation of 
their property. There were four thousand Roman 


Intimate China ^ 

Catholic refu- 
gees in Chung- 
king in the 
summer of 
1898. Not a 
few have been 
killed. And 
in the west of 
China several 
cases have oc- 
curred where 
men have been 
offered their 
lives if they 
would burn 
incense upon 
Buddhist al- 
tars, and have 
refused and 
been martyred. 
I do not know 
how converts 
could more 
prove their 
sincerity than 
by thus dying. 
But of Protestant converts, too, I do not think the 
staunchness has at all sufficiently been estimated. 
When riot after riot occurred all along the Yangtse, 
in some cases all the foreigners went away, leaving 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

-»5 Bearing Persecution 

their converts to shift for themselves. Native evan- 
geHsts carried on the services, and there were the 
congregations just the same when the missionaries came 
back. Whilst, to turn to lesser persecutions, sometimes 
even harder to bear, how many Chinese Christians 
have seen their business fall away from them, and from 
a position of competence have been reduced to poverty ! 
As long as Treaty Ports exist in China, probably their 
common talk will be that Chinese Christians are no 
good ; for there of all places men of bad character may 
be expected to join the Christian communities from 
interested motives : but on the whole, though naturally 
they cannot attain to all the Christian virtues at once — 
it will probably require a generation or two to arrive 
at such an approximation even as we have ourselves 
arrived at — yet in the matter of staunchness Chinese 
Christians stand as high as the Christians of any nation 
at any age. 

If my opinion, however, be anything worth, and on 
this matter I am not the least sure it is, it is not 
money so much our missionaries want in the East 
as sympathetic upholding. Let them feel that their 
countrymen, not missionaries in name, are wishing them 
more power, and not taking account of their failures, 
and they will be upborne to do greater deeds than 
those of old. Would, however, that missionaries may 
also believe that those not nominally of their band 
may notwithstanding be animated by quite as living 
a Christian zeal ! 

As it is, the way in which missionaries and merchants 


Intimate China <*- 

eye each other askance is often very painful. As to* 
the differences between the sects, I think these are as 
much and as needlessly exaggerated as those between 
different kinds of Chinese. Chinese converts must be 
further advanced in Christianity than is often the case 
now to be able to appreciate the difference even between 
Roman Catholicism and Congregationalism. They see 
there is a difference in ceremonial. But to that Chinese 
are much too wise to attach much importance. They 
fancy all are "good talkees " of different kinds. And 
are they far wrong ? The sincerer the Christian the less 
importance he always seems to attach to differences 
of belief and form. 

It is sad to reflect that had there not been such 
fierce rivalries between the cardinals in the thirteenth 
century, and a consequent Papal interregnum of three 
years, Kublai Khan's request to the two brothers Polo 
would have probably been acceded to, and the Chinese 
become Christians then en masse, after the fashion of 
the kindred Russian race. Kublai Khan had '' begged 
the Pope would send as many as one hundred persons 
of our Christian faith ; intelligent men, acquainted with 
the Seven Arts, well qualified to enter into controversy, 
and able clearly to prove by force of argument to 
idolaters and other kinds of folk, that the law of Christ 
was best, and that all other religions were false and 
naught, and that if they would prove this, he and all 
under him would become Christians and the Church's 
liegemen. Finally, he charged his envoys to bring back 
to him some of the oil of the Lamp which burns on 


^ Asking for Missionaries 

the sepulchre of our Lord at Jerusalem." There is 
a miniature of the fourteenth century of the great 
Khan delivering a golden tablet to the brothers. They 
started for Rome on this mission with a Tartar Baron, 
but he fell sick and went back. They were three years 
upon the journey, then delayed, waiting till a Pope, 
Gregory of Piacenza, was at last appointed. He sent 
two learned Dominicans with them — two instead of a 
hundred — and these two friars were terrified by a Saracen 
outbreak, and turned back in their turn. Again, in the 
eighteenth century the Chinese would, it seems, have 
Sfecome Christians, but that the Dominicans then came 
and opposed the Jesuits, who had effected an entrance 
in 1580, and had gained great influence over the 
Emperor and the nation. The Dominicans and 
Franciscans condemned the Jesuit toleration of ancestral 
worship, and for the second time China was thrown 
back. The Emperor and his advisers were considering 
whether Christianity should not be proclaimed the 
religion of the country, when the coup d'dtat came. 
Those of the reformers who have survived, and the 
Emperor Kwang-shti through them, have thus for 
the third time been holding out asking hands to 

In all these cases it has been European enlightenment, 
as embodied in Christianity, that the Chinese through 
their Emperors have asked for. But already we hear 
of governors and high officials actually becoming Chris- 
tians themselves individually. Up till now none had 
certainly joined the Protestant Church, and I think 


Intimate China ^ 

none had been baptised into the Roman Catholic Church, 
for I have always understood in China it was doubted 
whether a man could become a Christian and retain 
official place. 

China has appealed to Christendom for the third 
time. May it not be in vain ! Of all means for helping 
her, the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and 
General Knowledge seems the most useful at the 
present juncture, and ^20 would bring a new city 
under its influence, while ^200 would enable this 
Society to permeate a whole new province with its 
revivifying literature. 




Buying Curios. — Being stoned. — Chinese New 
Year. — Robbers. — Protesting Innocence. — Doing 
Penance. — Medicines. 

BEFORE Chinese New Year bargains are to be 
picked up — in Shanghai lovely embroidered satins, 
exquisite transparent tortoiseshell boxes, or china of 
the Ming period. Up-country our buyings are of a 
different order— a tiger-skin thirteen feet from head to 
tail, with grand markings, though of course not so thick 
a fur as is to be had at Newchwang. Head and tail 
and claws are all intact ; and the man who brings it 
exhibits also its terrible jaws, and points to the holes 
where the spear entered before the man conquered 
the tiger. We have besides stone slabs, with the shells 
of the orthoceras embedded in them, sawn asunder and 
polished for screens or table-tops. What that most 
remarkable animal did, with a shell like the horn of 
an unicorn, not uncommonly over two feet long, and 
beautifully convoluted, it is hard to think. These 
pagoda-stones, as they are called, arrive in mass, all to 
realise money for New Year's debts. 

Rocks of various kinds are the special product of the 


Intimate China ^ 

Ichang district, where we could supply all the rockeries 
of Shanghai with disintegrated conglomerate. Only, 
unfortunately, at this season fern-stones are not in 
sufficient beauty to play the part of the Irish pig, and 
help to pay the rent. But one day an eagle was shown 
into the drawing-room in splendid condition, with grand 
yellow beak, and beautiful brown eyes, and neck of 
blended tints of brown and bronze. The poor creature's 
feet were tightly tied together ; but even as it was, we 
were careful about admiring its beauties too closely. 
Eight hundred cash was all that was even asked by its 
captor, who eventually is said to have parted with the 
beautiful bird for five hundred cash, or one shilling. 

A curious little animal with beautiful long-nailed feet 
and tiny tail, and a fur so exquisitely thick and soft 
and feathery one quite longed for a collar of it, had not 
such luck as the eagle, and died before arriving here ; 
but of these various luxuries — for none of these can 
quite be reckoned among the necessaries of life — it is a 
little difficult to choose on which to spend one's spare 
cash. The fur-shops close before the New Year, which 
is the more to be regretted as they offer the most 
fascinating footstool covers — intended for the seats of 
roomy Chinese chairs — made out of two heads of what 
are called seven-months' tigers, a thick fur of drab 
colour with an admixture of rich brown. 

Oranges are what colour the scene, — mandarin 
oranges, of delicious flavour and thinnest possible skin ; 
and other oranges, slightly indented at either end, and of 
a flavour peculiar to the district, and highly appreciated. 


^ Mud and Brickbats 

But an attempt to examine the orange-market soon 
roused a row, when mud and brickbats flew through 
the air, so well hurled by some of the Hunan boatmen 

Lettt by ScotcJt Presbyterian Mission. 

as to raise a lump like an ^gg on the skull of one of 
the party before we fairly got away, with our hats 
knocked over our eyes, and generally somewhat soiled. 
This stoning experience becomes a little monotonous. 


Intimate China ^ 

I have had hot things thrown at me in Hankow, hot 
things and stones in Itu, bricks and earth in Ichang, 
and since then so many things in so many less well- 
known places. There is a certain amount of excitement 
attached to it at first ; but the most passionate lover 
of excitement could buy it more pleasurably otherwise. 
The people you look at always run away, if you look 
firmly enough ; but then those from behind come on, 
and the men on the outskirts of the throng take the 
opportunity to throw things under cover of the others. 
After all, the shrieking and shouting they keep up 
is about the worst part of the proceeding, making one 
feel like a mad dog. And to walk through the narrow 
streets of a Chinese town in that character is not the 
pleasantest possible experience. We enjoyed it to 
perfection at Itu, where the people consider they have 
conquered the English ; for a missionary, having taken, 
a house there, was not only persuaded by the British 
Consul into giving up the house, the owner of which 
had as usual in such cases been thrown into prison, 
but had even to pay something himself, instead of having 
compensation given to him. 

Had it not been for the uproarious chorus of " Slay 
the foreigner ! " the tune to which we habitually walked 
about in remote parts of Hupeh Province, the shops 
of Itu looked rather inviting. There were beautiful 
sheep-skins in great profusion ; and even in passing I 
was struck by the delicate beauty of some of the fox- 
skins. Women's embroidered petticoats were also 
hanging up for sale ; but this was probably a bad New 


-») A Formidable Beggar 

Year's sign. In one of the temples at Itu report says 
there is an inscription in European characters ; but the 
hooting crowd did not predispose us to research, the 
less so as over all down fell the silent snow, in the 
midst of which stalked the most formidable beggar 
I have ever yet seen, stripped to the waist, covered 
with skin disease, his face plastered with mud of a 
livid green hue, his hair wild, and his eyes fierce and 

How comfortable the familiar house-boat looks, 
after one of these raids upon the shore, with luncheon 
on the table, and the armchairs all equally inviting ! 
But we were stoned at Ichang with no pleasant house- 
boat to make tracks to ; and, what is worse, one of the 
party wounded, which was a bad precedent, to say the 
least of it. And we were met by a French gentleman, 
who said, " I was stoned for a whole quarter of an hour 
yesterday." It seemed to him, as it did to us, that 
these little breaches of the peace, acquiesced in, might 
easily lead to serious consequences. The cry of " Slay 
the foreigner ! " was a novelty that year. It has 
become very common since then. 

But even without stoning, what a business it is shop- 
ping in a Chinese city ! If you go to a shop, and begin 
looking at things and asking prices as you might in 
Europe, all the rabble of the street pours in after 
you. You cannot make yourself heard, you cannot 
breathe, you cannot see for the crowd, till the poor 
shopkeeper by his imploring gestures at last succeeds 
in making you go away before his shop is sacked, or 

257 s 

Intimate China ^ 

at least half the things in it broken. The proper way 
is to send to the shop. Then a young shopman comes, 
very chirpy and self-satisfied, with a quantity of goods, 
but very likely nothing that you quite fancy. Then 
he asks you to tell him what you want exactly. Do 

you want brocade, or — or Here follow names of 

silks you never heard of, and never consciously saw. 
Do you want to make yourself a skirt or a jacket ? 
What ! — neither ! And do you not want a whole piece 
of the silk either ? He packs up his goods and goes 
off Then you decide to do the next most right thing — 
are carried to his shop in a sedan-chair, plumped down 
at the door of it, 'and glide into it and through into 
the sitting-room behind with wonderful celerity. The 
troubled shopkeeper bars one or two gates behind 
you, and the curious crowd is shut out. You sit down 
in peace, among round wooden columns, upon one of 
the straight-backed chairs beside a little black table. 
All is tranquil. Tea is brought. A pipe is offered. 
No one is in a hurry to serve you. And when you 
begin to explain what you want, they treat you like a 
silly sort of crazy creature that must be humoured, 
and somehow induced to go away. If, however, you 
have the good sense to begin by making one or two 
somewhat important purchases, everything and every- 
body in the shop will be at your service. The Chinese 
like buyers. But they object altogether to pricing after 
the American fashion. 

There is not much more to be bought in Chungking 
than in Ichang ; but there are bed-spreads of deep 

^ Blue Bed-spreads and Scarlet Rugs 

indigo-blue cotton, with an elaborate pattern traced 
out on them in a kind of plaster before they are dyed, 
which consequently become whiter each time the cloth 
is washed, and which do well for tablecloths. And 
there are felt rugs, which have been treated in the same 
way — the whole pattern traced by hand, though, and 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

then the rug dipped in a bright scarlet. Even in 
Chungking we never can decide whether these rugs 
look handsome or the reverse. But in the frontier 
town of Tibet, in the Roman Catholic Bishop's palace, 
I thought one looked magnificent upon the floor. 
There are embroideries, of course, to be bought — there 
are always embroideries all over China. And there 
are wonderful straw hats from Chengtu, two yards in 


Intimate China ^ 

circumference ; and with the straw braid so fine in 
the centre of the crown, that it has all to be sewn 
together standing edgewise, not flat, as is usual with 

But China New Year is the great time in every 
Chinese city, and this account of China New Year in 
Wuchang, the capital of Hupeh Province, is so much 
the best I have ever heard, that I must borrow it 
from the North China Daily News of February 20th, 
1891 : 

''It requires a good conscience to get any sleep on 
Old Year Night in a Chinese city ; the whole population 
watches the Old Year out. Ask them what they do 
all the time, they will say they enjoy themselves ; again 
ask them how, they will tell you that they sit and chat 
all night long, ^o doubt the opium-pipe and game 
of chance help away the time. Certainly, firing crackers 
seems to be a large part of the watch-night service. 
From dark to dawn and everywhere they bang, bang, 
bang on the startled air of night, being intended as 
a sort of greeting to the New Year. All the first half 
of the night hurry and scurry fill the streets ; the city 
gates are left open, so that belated creditors may not 
be hampered in the collection of their debts. Then 
towards midnight the last door is shut, and the last 
lucky inscription pasted up. This is a very important 
phase of the New Year. Every house in the empire 
that can afford it buys antithetical inscriptions for the 
two lintels of the door, and for the various other places 
of prominence on the walls. The vocabulary of polite 


Warning to Evil Spirits 

ornament is ransacked, and the five happinesses, the 
points of the compass, rains, snows, winds, sunshine, 
country and home, wealth and longevity, are woven 
into the garlands of elegant phrases in every possible 
On the doors 
them selves 
are pasted 
new pictures 
of the ' Door- 
Gods, ' who 
once in the 
fabled past 
delivered their 
monarch from 
the nightly 
visits of wan- 
dering bogeys, 
and whose 
pictures have 
been found 
ever since 

sufficient for a similar purpose throughout the empire. 
Across the windows are pasted strips of paper — 
' Chieh, the Supreme Duke, is here ; bad spirits, 
get you gone,' for Chieh in his day, some two 
thousand years ago, gained great power over spirits, 
and to-day, though they have wit enough to read char- 
acters, they have not wit to know that they are being 
taken in, and therefore sneak away abashed when they 


By Mrs. Archtbald LiUle. 

Intimate China ^e- 

find their old controller is within. Over the door-front 
is fixed a little mirror, so that any foul fiend who wants 
to enter, seeing his own ugly face reflected, will think 
another is there before him, and will fear the conse- 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

quences of poaching. The ' door ot wealth ' is then 
closed, and the transactions of the year are ended. 
The door will in due time be opened once more with 
great ceremony, and with proper precautions to ensure 
that wealth shall flow in. 

" As the night passes on, the guests refresh them- 


-^ Chinese New Year Time 

selves with the food cooked in preparation ; for cooking 
must not go on during the first day or so of the year. 
A banquet is prepared, and with the first glimmer of the 
dawn the head of the household goes out beneath the 
sky, and, spreading a carpet and^offering viands, bows 


down with head to the ground towards the direction 
of the spirit of happiness. This spirit is changeable ; 
he alters his direction every year, and the high 
authorities of Peking kindly act as his mouthpiece, 
giving notice beforehand to the people In which direction 
to bow. This year the dawn of the year saw many a 
pigtailed head bowed to the south-west ; then followed 


Intimate China ^ 

the worship of ancestors by the whole household ; while 
crackers and incense completed the welcome. At the 
same time the high officials, from the Viceroy down- 
wards, assemble within the red and yellow walls of 
the Emperor's Temple. Great heaps of reeds are 
stacked through the neglected courts, which have been 
hastily weeded, and as the mandarins approach the 
whole scene is made ruddy with huge bonfires. The 
great chair of State — somewhat rickety and of simple 
local manufacture — acts as deputy for the Emperor, all 
the officials k^otow in unison, and then for a moment 
squat in the peculiar fashion observed in the actual 
presence of their sovereign. The temples of Confucius 
and the god of war are also visited for similar brief 
acts of reverence. 

*' By this time the day has well dawned, and shortly 
the round of calls begins. Everybody dons his best 
attire ; and the number of buttons of gold on the top 
of juvenile or rarely respectable heads is marvellous. 
Most careful must everybody be to utter no word of 
ill-omen ; tiger, death, devil, etc., etc., are all tabooed. 
For once in the year the foreigner may go on the 
streets with a fair prospect of not being greeted by 
the ordinary affectionate terms of abuse ; for should any 
unfortunate youngster in his wonder call out ' foreign 
devil,' summary chastisement is sure to teach him 
that the luck of the family is not to be sacrificed 
even for the pleasure of baiting an outside stranger. 
The streets are filled with all the world paying calls ; 
the world's wife does not venture out these first few 

264 . 

■^ Tribute to Robbers 

days. And the work-worn city keeps its sabbaths 
for the whole year all in a fortnight." 

Like our Easter, the Chinese New Year varies ; but 
it generally comes some time in F'ebruary. 

In a small Chinese town, where there was no 
buying to be done, one evening we had the gentleman 
in charge of the telegraph station to tea. He brought 
his operator with him, a most determined young man 
of fourteen, who to everything said, '' Yes ! " Between 
them they send two messages a day, morning and 
evening, ''Yes" and ''All right," and that is all they 
have to do. " And conceive," said the superior, " that I 
spent ^12 learning English, and therewith bought five 
thousand words, and then am set down in a place like 
this, where there is not even anything to eat." 

On many of the farmsteads round about Ichang 
may be seen a large hieroglyph painted in white, the 
character " Fang," with " Shang " on the top of it, in 
a circle. It is always very conspicuously placed, and 
signifies, " This household pays its yearly tribute to 
the robbers, and must not be molested." The village 
of Kolopei, just below the Tiger^s Teeth Gorge, is 
said to consist wholly of the class of whom it may be 
said — as was said to me once of the inhabitants of a 
network of common lodging-houses not far off Spital- 
fields, wondering at seeing them dancing and making 
merry at two o'clock in the afternoon— " What do 
the people here do ? Why, they none of them works 
for their living." 

A day or two after a great fire at Ichang a strange 


Intimate China ^^ 

sight was to be seen. A man, who had been accused of 
helping to steal away some poor woman's child during 
the confusion, with a white calico placard pasted on to 
his coat behind attesting his innocence, his pigtail 
hanging unplaited, and wearing a crown of coarse paper 
cash, with long streamers of paper cash hanging from it, 
was going round from shrine to shrine, at each protesting 
his innocence. A man went before him with a gong, 
shouting out the whole story. It is to be hoped he was 
not one of the eight beheaded next day. What would 
be thought of eight executions in one day in Stamford 
or Teignmouth ? But not so long ago England was 
equally bloodthirsty. We must remember that. 

Another year we saw a similar sight, only much more 
picturesque. As we were going up-river, we met a boat 
coming down, and in the bow of it there was a man 
kneeling quite upright, with hands held up as if 
imploring. In the great beauty of a still reach in the 
Gorges it was a very moving spectacle ; but it was only 
a rough-and-ready way of punishing a man accused of 
having tried to steal from his fellows. 

I see I have said nothing of medicines. You can 
buy rhubarb in bulk quite fresh in Szechuan. It grows 
chiefly on the Tibetan border. Even under the Sung 
Dynasty the Chinese had three hundred and sixty-five 
kinds of drugs and one hundred and thirteen kinds 
of formulae. But they use rough decoctions, and make 
tisanes from their drugs ; they never make extracts, nor 
use minute and accurate weights to dole them out. 

The ancient Chinese used metal models to exhibit 


^ Variety of Drugs 

man's inner structure ; and everything that is most rare 
and dear they think must be useful for a medicine, — 
snakes, scorpions, the velvet off a deer's horns, a 
dead caterpillar with grass growing out of its head, 
tigers' bones, beautiful orchids, of which last whole 
boatloads float down from Chungking to Ichang. A 
Chinaman loves medicine ; nothing pleases him better 
than to take it ; and the European is always being 
asked for remedies, not so much because he believes 
foreign remedies to be good, but because he has found 
out to his delight and amazement that they are to be had 
for nothing. One doctor, delighted at the great reputa- 
tion he thought he was acquiring amongst Chinese, was 
disgusted to find that as soon as he ceased giving away 
bottles with his medicines patients ceased to apply for 
them. But the benefits of quinine are so striking, that 
a Chinaman is ready to ask for this, even when you 
put it into his mouth for him. They suffer very much 
from fever, poor people ! and when one thinks how 
many years they have stood the violent changes of 
their climate without ever a respite, and how much w^e 
ourselves lose our energy when exposed to them, one 
begins to feel more tolerance for a Chinaman's apparent 
inertia. Besides, what has he to gain by exerting 
himself? If he become rich, is not the life of a rich 
Chinaman so dull that only opium makes it possible 
to endure it? Once let Chinamen get a taste of the 
enjoyment of life, and they will be^ a different people. 
Now they suffer from fever as w^e do ; they dislike bad 
smells, too, it seems — for no nation more delights in 


Intimate China ^ 

sweet-smelling flowers ; they get depressed, and hipped 
as we do ; and they have no light literature, no sports, 
very little of a newspaper press, no picture-galleries, 
no concerts, no bands, no intercourse with women, 
except of the baser sort. No wonder they look dull. 
And how they love to be amused ! 




Tiger Soldiers. — Woosung Drill. — General's Gal- 
lantry. — Japanese War. — Admiral Ting. — Dominoes 
with a Sentry. — Viceroy's Review. 

AT Ichang, a thousand miles up the river Yangtse, 
there is a regiment of soldiers dressed as tigers ; 
but I never could persuade any of the foreign officials 
to escort me to see them manoeuvre, the European 
opinion being that not even the presence of an inspect- 
ing general would awe the Tiger soldiers sufficiently 
to make it safe to take a foreign lady to see them. 
I was told that the Tigers were not really soldiers at 
all, but that some officer drew pay for them as if they 
existed ; and then when the General came to inspect, 
all the beggars and riffraff of the city put on the Tiger 
uniform over their rags, and turned out in so disorderly 
a condition that even their officers were afraid of them. 
And so it turned out that, except from a passing steamer, 
I never saw Chinese soldiers drill till 1 did so at 
Woosung, the new Treaty Port, at the junction of the 
Whangpoo, on which Shanghai is situated, with the 
great river Yangtse. 

It was a Sunday in autumn, and the early morning 


Intimate China ^ 

air felt keen as we steamed down to Woosung, and 
landed at the fort. Eleven gunboats in a row, all 
decorated with large flags, the biggest flag in each 
boat a different arrangement of black, red, yellow, 
and white, had prepared us for its being a gala day, 
but hardly for the pretty sight we found upon the 
parade-ground, where five hundred men were being 
drilled with a hundred banners among them, not to 
speak of bannerets, many of the banners being ten 
feet square. The men formed in square, in rallying 
groups, fired altogether, one after the other, all to 
the sound of a bugle, without a single order being 
given. Drill sergeants in huge straw hats stood 
before them, and inspected them ; and the men's 
own dress was picturesque enough — loose jackets with 
large characters upon them behind and before placed in 
circles like targets, and large loose-flapping leg-guards of 
decided colours. To the bugle's note the men folded 
their banners round the spears they carried, to the 
bugle's note they again flung them loose to the wind, 
executing both manoeuvres with a singular adroitness. 
There was never a hitch, and the drill appeared 
admirable, recalling that to be seen from Birdcage Walk 
in a very curious fashion ; for it was every now and 
again diversified by a primitively savage jump forward 
with spears pointed, to the sound of a terror-inspiring 
yell, and then a sort of goose-step retreat, after which 
the banners that had been tightly wound round the 
spears were shaken out again, and the men became 
civilised soldiers once more, admirably drilled. 


From a Picture by a Chinese Artist. 

-^ A Chinese General 

After this I saw no more of Chinese soldiers for 
some time, only noticed that the one Chinese mandarin 
who showed anything approaching to gallantry towards 
me was a Chinese general, who, calHng upon the Consul 
with whom we were staying in all his war-paint, was 
kind enough to take off his necklace for me to admire, 
when I had broken the ice by praising his embroideries ; 
drew up his gown for me to admire his boots, which, 
like his necklace, were insignia of his official standing ; 
and finally invited us, whenever we could succeed in 
effecting a landing there, to spend a long and happy 
day at new Kweichow. Unfortunately this city, built 
by order, is so situated, with all the worst rocks in the 
river just at the foot of it, that hardly any one ever 
can land there ; and we never have succeeded in so 
doing, which I the more regretted as he was kindly 
careful to inform me that, though his own wife was 
dead, his daughter-in-law would do the honours to me. 
I flattered myself at the time that I had made quite 
an impression upon the General, who was over six 
feet one, and fully broad in proportion, and who pre- 
sented a most gorgeous appearance in long brocade 
gown embroidered for about a foot round the bottom 
with waves of the sea and other Chinese devices. He 
wore also a long satin coat with embroidered breast- 
plate, and a similar square of embroidery on the back, 
with the horseshoe cuffs, forced upon the Chinese by 
the Manchus when the present dynasty came to the 
throne, falling over his hands. High official boots, 
an amber necklace of very large beads reaching to 

273 T 

Intimate China 


his waist, and aureole-shaped official cap with large red 
tassel, completed his costume. And when he first 
advanced into the room, and found me seated there 
with the British Consul, on whom he was paying a 
visit of ceremony, the huge creature turned back, 
growing crimson and giggling like a schoolgirl, as he 
said to one of his attendants (a numerous retinue of 
pipe-bearers and the like followed him), " Here is one 
of these foreign women. Whatever am I to do ? I 
never was in a room with one before, and have no 
notion how to behave." Yet such is army training all 
the world over, that in five minutes the General was 
doing the polite in the most finished style. 

There must be something in being a soldier — even 
in being a Chinese soldier. When we travelled with 
some thirty or so coolies and attendants, it was of 
course necessary for me to decide upon one man whose 
duty it was, whenever I got out of my sedan-chair, to 
follow me with the camera, help me to set it up, and 
generally attend upon me. Twice I picked out my man, 
without knowing anything of his antecedents, and in 
each case found I had selected the one ex-soldier of the 
company. It was idle for our man-servant to say they 
were probably bad characters, for .a man did not go 
away from home and become a soldier for nothing. 
They were so handy and obliging, that, though both, 
alas ! have come to grief since then, I have still a soft 
corner of my heart for my two Lao Liu's ; for curiously 
enough both rejoiced in the same name, and mightily 
jealous of each other they were when they ultimately 


-^ Handy Soldiers 

met. When it is considered that their duties varied 
from carrying my little dog, the untiring companion 
of all our wild travel, to carrying me myself pick-a- 
back across a mountain torrent, and included choosing 
the picturesque view-points for photographs (at least 
they both thought themselves mighty fine judges on 
this point), as well as defending me from infuriate 
peasantry when they rushed at me with mattocks, and 
regularly carrying me in a sedan when that was the 
mode of progression, together with collecting and caring 
for all my little odds and ends of wraps, boots, and the 
like, it may be seen what a very handy creature a 
Chinese soldier is, when he — shall we say is after a soft 
billet, or wants to oblige a lady ? 

Of course, we had unpleasant experiences with 
soldiers sometimes. On the s.s. Kuling they stole every 
portable bit of brass off the steamer whilst making a 
little voyage in her. On the s.s. Yling they managed to 
eat up or carry off all the food that had been intended 
to last for months, whilst their officers were being 
entertained by my husband at a dinner party. 

Then came the Japanese War, and all the river 
between Ichang and Hankow became gay with most 
picturesque junks laden with Chinese soldiers going to 
the war. Their flags flew upon the breeze ; they them- 
selves, in their modey and decorative uniforms, sat in 
groups mounted up on top of the junks. Occasionally 
the old-world, almost antediluvian music of their long, 
somewhat mournful trumpets sounded across the water. 
'' Nous allons a la boucherie, a la boucherie, a la 


Intimate China 


boucherle," sang 
the French re- 
cruits in their 
train-loads hurry- 
ing to fight the 
Germans. These 
Chinese levies 
might well have 
sung the same. 
But they sat im- 
passi\^e and 
yellow-faced be- 
neath their high 
black turbans, 
apparendy in no- 
wise excited or 
discontented with 
their lot. How 
mercifully the 
future hides from 

us what may be in store for us on the morrow ! And 

how terrible would it be, could some 

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury. 

" power the giftie gie us 
To see oursels as others see us " ! 

These Hunan soldiers evidently looked upon them- 
selves as "braves," sure of their rice; good, honest 
fellows they looked most of them, well grown and 
well fed. But to us they appeared as victims upon 
the altar of Chinese corruption and ineptitude. Yet 


■^ No Regiment properly armed 

is it our hearts harden in China ? There are so 
many victims in the world one contemplates with 
more of sorrow than these Chinese soldiers as they 
floated down the great river in their red and orange, 
with the black kerchiefs of Hunan binding their 
yellow brows. To the butchery ! To the butchery ! 
Float on, Chinese soldiers, all unconscious of your 
doom, and convinced beyond the power of argument 
and canon that there is no race like the Chinese 
race, and that all other nations are your subjects 
born — rebellious, perhaps, but to be subject to the 
end ! It is a somewhat similar conviction which 
carries the Anglo-Saxon race forward — indeed, each 
nation in turn, till it meets its destiny in the God- 
appointed hour. 

The story of the Japanese War has been written 
for the Chinese by Dr. Allen, and read with avidity 
by them. For the English public it has not been 
written. Contradictory telegrams arrived till people 
began to look in doubt upon any news emanating from 
Shanghai. But, indeed, the truth was incredible. It 
was impossible to believe that the Empress and Li 
Hung-chang between them had brought their nation 
to such a pass that no regiment was properly armed. 
If they had got the guns, they had not got the cartridges 
that fitted them ; but generally speaking they had not 
got the guns. The men stolidly appreciated the situa- 
tion ; they made no complaint ; but when they could 
they ran away, which was about the only thing they 
could do under the circumstances. Did not six generals 


Intimate China 

bolt before one battle ? Or 
was that one of the tele- 
grams that reached us In 
the west of China, where we 
were even less well informed 
than people in England ? 
People talked of the feats 
of Chinese soldiery under 
Gordon, forgetting always 
that these feats were per- 
formed by Chinese soldiers 
properly armed, and against 
soldiers who were also 
Chinese, and not led by 
Gordons, nor properly armed. 
It is still a question whether 
Chinese will ever stand 
against a European army. 
They have the greatest con- 
tempt for their own soldiery, 
call them by a title of con- 
tempt — Ping Ting ! — regard 
fighting altogether as bar- 
barous, and long ago were 
of the opinion now enunciated to the world by the 
Russian Czar. 

After the war was over, the poor soldiers were cer- 
tainly as badly treated as they could possibly deserve. 
Their officers pocketed their pay, and then decamped, 
leaving their men In many cases completely destitute, 


By Mrs. Bishop. 

^ Villagers tricking Soldiery 


out at elbows, and far away from their homes. No 
wonder that they misconducted themselves ! Comical 
enough incidents occurred during the war ; as, for 
instance, when a company of Cantonese soldiers stopped 
for food and rest at a little village. The villagers 
willingly disposed of food at good prices ; and the 
soldiers were about to leave, when a village elder 
informed them that the 
Japanese were in the 
neighbourhood, and he 
would advise them to 
leave their weapons 
and ammunition in the 
village ; for if the 
Japanese saw them 
armed, they would 
think they had come to 
fight, and would kill 
them all. This seemed 
good advice to the 
soldiers ; so they re- 
quested that they might 
be allowed to leave 
their weapons in the 
village till some future 
day. The villagers 
consented, and the 
guns and cartridges 
were stacked together ; 
but no sooner had the 

By Mrs. Bishop. 


Intimate China <«- 

soldiers started on their way, than the villagers seized 
the guns, and commenced a deadly fire on the now 
disarmed braves. Many were killed, and all were 
robbed of everything about them, until their costume 
was scarcely as extensive as that usually worn by a 
Swatow fisherman. 

Here is a sad little account of one detachment, taken 
from a Chinese paper : 

" The first batch of Hunan men who are without 
occupation, property, or income is three hundred and 
seventeen in number. H. E. ordered them to be taken 
by gunboat to their homes. Those who belonged to 
Hengyang were to receive $3 {6s.) each as expenses for 
their land journey, and those of Changsha $2 (4^.) each. 
On the day of debarkation, they were marched from 
the city to Shakuan ; but on reaching that place their 
number had diminished to one hundred and eighty, the 
others having fallen out, complaining of sickness and 
fatigue, though the distance they had traversed was only 
about six miles. These invalids were handed over to 
the guardhouses along the road for safe keeping, and 
will be deported with the next batch. The crusade is 
being continued with . great vigour, and no doubt the 
ultimate number of deportees will amount to many 

When a general intended to review the four 
battalions of troops that do duty on the Grand Canal, 
he found that, instead of numbering sixteen hundred, as 
they ought to do, they practically did not exist, and that, 
"as was universally the case in the army," the pay of 


^ Admiral Ting 

the skeleton force that was maintained was three months 
in arrear. Their number was simply made up against 
the general in command holding a review, and as soon 
as he left the old system of corruption was resorted to. 

One of the few men who distinguished himself on 
the Chinese side in the late war was Admiral Ting ; 
and as illustrating the career of a Chinese soldier, it may 
be as well to relate his history, for this noble admiral 
was in reality a Chinese brave. Born of poor parents, 
and having had to work hard for a living, he entered 
the army as a private at the age of sixteen ; but after 
a few years was promoted to be an officer. In the war 
against the rebels in the Western provinces, he fought 
as a captain in Li Hung-chang's cavalry, and after that 
was promoted to be colonel of the same regiment. 
During the Taiping rebellion, he again distinguished 
himself as an officer. 

But when China began to form a fleet in 1880, not 
having any naval officers, she had to look for some 
one amongst the officers of the army to take command 
of her squadron of alphabetical gunboats, and Ting was 
ordered to fill this post by Imperial Decree. At first, 
in all matters of navigation, he had to seek help from 
his subordinate officers, some of whom had been brought 
up in foreign military and naval schools, and by doing 
so lost much of his authority. But by degrees he learnt 
to know as much about navigation and seamanship as 
any o\ them ; and when in 1884 some one was wanted 
to go to England to bring out two new cruisers, it 
was again Ting who was selected. Western civilisation 

Intimate China ^ 

seems to have made a real impression upon him ; and 
after returning from Europe, his great wish was always 
to form a navy that might be sufficient to defend the 
Chinese coast, and with this object in view he adopted 
as far as possible European customs. Many Europeans 
came in contact with him whilst at Chefoo, and all seem 
to have been most favourably impressed by him. When 
the Japanese War began, Ting's views often differed from 
those of his Government ; but he knew that his duty 
was to obey, and so with resolution he awaited the 
fate that he clearly saw must one day befall him. For 
he knew that by the laws of his country his life would 
be forfeited by the loss of his ships and Wel-hal-wei. 
After the fall of Port Authur, he had been deprived 
of his honours, and ordered to proceed to Peking 
and give himself over to the Board of Punishment ; 
but owing to the remonstrances of all the European 
officers of the fleet, this edict had been cancelled, and 
the brave old soldier reinstated as admiral In command. 
After the fall of Wel-hai-wel, he knew there was nothing 
for him but death, and he preferred to perish by his 
own hand, and thus save his family from dishonour, 
rather than to be decapitated. All his countrymen 
approved his action ; and so this man, who had risen from 
the lowliest position, died, as he had lived, respected. 
Kind and fatherly to his soldiers as to his family, he 
had been greatly beloved. But In the condition to 
which LI Hung-chang and the Empress Tze HsI had 
brought both fleet and army, what other end could 
there be for a brave soldier ? 


^ German Officer v. Chinese General 

The army was, indeed, divided against itself. At 
Kiangyin, on the Yangtse, where there were German 
instructors, the main powder magazine on the left bank 
of the river blew up ; it was never known whether by 
accident or design, although it looked like the latter. 
Two hundred lives were lost, and there were many 
wounded. The foreigners on the right bank were afraid 
to cross, as the Anhui soldiers were in a state of 
mutiny, holding their general prisoner, and intending 
to kill him. They were decided, should the mutiny 
spread, to move over to the Hunan men, on whom they 
could rely, and who would not assist the Anhui men. 
They knew that the general was keeping back his men's 
pay ; and although the intervention of the Literary 
Chancellor had been asked, no reliance was placed on 
his power of pacifying the soldiery, his corruption was 
known to be so great. 

The German officer who had been acting as General 
at Woosung close to Shanghai up to the spring of 
1898 gave a most amusing, though somewhat dis- 
heartening, account of his handing over his command. 
The Chinese did not want to have German officers any 
more, so a Chinese General was to take command ; 
and first he did not arrive, although the men were all 
drawn up under arms waiting for him, because he had 
suddenly found out it was an unlucky day ; so he had 
had his boats moored up a creek, and was quietly wait- 
ing there. The German was indignant, and required him 
once more to fix his day. A Sunday was appointed, and 
the German sent to inform him that all the men would 


Intimate China ^ 

again be drawn up, and that when he saw the Chinese 
General riding forward he would give order, "Shoulder 

arms ! Present arms ! " then 
the Chinese General must 
say, ''Order arms!" and 
then the command would 
be given over. " But surely 
I am not expected to ride ? 
I cannot possibly ride," re- 
plied the Chinese General. 
The German persisted he 
must ride. So on the ap- 
pointed day there appeared 
the Chinese General hud- 
dled on to a very small 
pony, with two men holding 
it one on each side, and a 
third holding an umbrella 
over him, for it was raining 
hard. He at once shouted 
out his word of command ; 
but as the previous order 
had not been given, it 
could not be followed. The 
German tried to explain this. " Oh," said the Chinese 
General, " I cannot believe it does any one any good to 
be kept out in rain like this. Just tell the men they can 
go away. This will do for to-day." So the men dis- 
persed, and the German cavalry officer felt there was the 
end of his efforts for many years to uphold discipline. 


By Mr. Cecil Hanbury, 

^^ Admiral and Sentry 

Of course, the story is well known of Admiral Lang 
going oft" to a Chinese man-of-war to see if discipline 
were well maintained, and finding no sentry outside 
the Chinese Admiral's cabin. Going in to protest, he 
found the Admiral and another playing dominoes. 
" Really,- Admiral," he began, '' I thought you had 
promised me to maintain discipline. How is it, then, I 
find no sentry outside your door ? " '' Oh, well, I am 
very sorry," replied the Chinese Admiral " But I 
really was so dull, I just asked him in to play dominoes 
with me." 

The days of old-time Chinese reviews must be 
numbered, and so I will conclude this chapter with 
an account of the one great one I have seen. The 
Viceroy arrived the day before. Great was the show of 
flags, and the v/hole city was in a white heat of excite- 
ment. We foreigners were all going about, each 
guarded by two soldiers in front of us, intelligent-seem- 
ing, very civil men, in beautiful new clothes, their 
bright-red waistcoats giving them a very festive appear- 
ance. There were besides numbers of men in orange 
coats, who seemed to have some duty as regarded 
keeping order ; whilst tsaijen (messengers), with pale, 
anxious-looking faces, sprang forward in dozens to pro- 
tect me, when I went to examine the parade-ground. 
All the houses had been removed from it, and a mock 
city wall with five gates built across it by means of 
dark -blue cotton, with white chalk lines to simulate the 
joins of the blocks of stone. All the world (without 
his wife) had been out drinking tea at tables there, 


Intimate China ^ 

and the scene was what Chungking people call reh-lau, 
or '' really jolly." 

The next day we were all to get up at five o'clock, 
we understood, and dressed in Chinese clothes ; for 
places had been arranged for the foreigners to see the 
sight, but we were requested if possible not to shock 
the populace by our queer foreign dress. The city 
was full of strangers, many of them with very flushed 
faces — a great contrast in their insouciance to the stream 
of extremely grave, anxious-looking mandarins in chairs 
coming back in full dress from waiting upon the great 
man. The review was beautifully set upon the stage ; 
the Viceroy's entrance could hardly be improved upon : 

" Behind him march the halberdiers, 
Before him sound the drums ! " 

In the band there were men with long trumpets, 
such as those before which the walls of Jericho fell 
down. They blew, and men advanced through the 
gates of the city wall, built up of blue cotton, with white 
chalk marks ; other men carried boards with titles ; 
others came following after, and then stopped and stood 
in front of them, and so on, and so on ; executioners with 
conical scarlet caps, boys with long Reeves' pheasant 
feathers in their caps, and all the curious insignia so 
well known in China, till at last there was a long line 
of them on either side all the way from the mock city 
wall to the tribune where the Viceroy was to sit, 
on one side of which was the Chinese bandstand, 
beside It again the box very politely set apart for 


Viceregal Review 

foreigners, all hung with green reed-blinds to shield us 
from the people's stare. 

Some of us really had been there since 5 a.m. ; but 

By Mrs. Bishop. 

not till about 9.30 did the trumpets sound. Then the 
great green Viceroy's chair with its multitude of bearers 
appeared through the city gates, forty banner-men all 


Intimate China ^ 

drooped their beautiful silken banners in the wet before 
him, whilst the army as one man went on its knees. 
The Viceroy entered the tribune, and the review began. 
But that entry could not have been better, if so well 
done, at Drury Lane. And the rest, too, was excellently 
staged. There was the usual extraordinary mixture of 
foreign and native drill, — fours about, hollow squares 
with the cavalry inside, the ''thin red lines o' 'eroes," 
and volley-firing, with, in between, wonderful advances 
of the banner-men, shaking the long poles, round which 
their banners were rolled, and shouting defiance at 
the foe. Then in and out and round about darted the 
Tigers, in ochre-yellow cotton made almost in the foreign 
fashion, coatees cut short, and trousers not baggy, and 
tucked in at the boot, as it seemed, at first glance. 
Then they turned round, and revealed the tiger stripings 
on their backs and on their ochre-yellow hoods. They 
came on with long catlike strides, then leapt, then 
hid behind shields painted to represent the tiger's open 
jaws, then strode stealthily again, and went through 
many cotillion figures, their round painted shields some- 
times forming a tent for all the tigers, sometimes a 
series of ladders. Then for a very long time men 
singly or in twos danced before the Viceroy, showing 
their skill with two-pronged forks made to catch the 
enemies' clothes, and rakes, and what in the end looked 
like a highly painted japanned table-top. Then 
suddenly, from opposite corners of the parade-ground, 
darted wild horsemen, each in fantastic attire and on 
a dashing pony, representing an attacking force of 

^ Artillery and Archers 

savages ; and the army fired on every side at once. 
Then the artillery appeared with the most marvellous 
of cannon, slight and somewhat dragon-shaped, and 
muzzle-loading of course, requiring to be laboriously 
wheeled round after each volley, and resting on some 
strange, outlandish supports, that had puzzled us 
foreigners much whilst carried round upon the shoulders 
of what now proved to be the artillery. 

We all felt somewhat mockingly inclined, we 
Americans, English, and Japanese, looking on from 
behind the blinds we so often pushed aside to see 
better. But the worst of it all was, it was all well 
done ; the men appeared well drilled ; and though, as 
the rain fell more and more, the Tigers no longer 
bounded as at first, and even their stride lost some- 
what of its stealth in the general slipperiness, yet the 
heartrending thought to all of us was, the thing was 
meant to be real. - As a spectacle it was so successful ! 
But those poor men down there would march in that 
style against modern weapons of precision, used in 
accordance with modern tactics, and of course had 
run away\ " Poor old China ! Poor old China ! " rose 
like a chorus fromi the pitiful ones. And we wondered, 
Did the Viceroy realise what he was looking on at ? 
Did his cheeks burn, as our own did ? Or did he 
really know no better, and think it a fine sight, as 
it was ? 

The whole wound up with a display on the part 
of the archers. Silken-clad young men with official 
red silk-tasselled caps, and the corners of their long 

280 u 

Intimate China ^ 

gowns tucked up, followed each by a soldier-servant 
holding above the heads of the crowd a quiver full of 
arrows, made their way up to the Viceregal tribune, 
and shot at a target white and long-shaped with three 
red bulls'-eyes one above the other. Each time they 
did so a big, very big drum was beaten, and a man 
sprang forward, and picked up the arrow, holding it 
very ostentatiously at arm's-length. The theatrical 
effect again was very good ; but as far as we could any 
of us see not one hit any of the bulls'-eyes, and through 
opera-glasses the paper surface appeared intact, when 
the Viceroy got into his chair and went off in much 
the same state as he had come ; only every one was 
wet through now, and the poor little boys with the 
Reeves' feathers looked particularly deplorable. On a 
rough computation, on this occasion at Chungking five 
hundred soldiers turned out, three hundred of whom, 
including forty banner-men, were versed in foreign drill 
and wore scarlet waistcoats. The others were either 
tigers or orange-clad. 

As to the Viceroy, he must have been used to it ; 
for was he not going round the province from Fu city 
to Fu city reviewing troops ? and did it not always rain ? 
He therefore must be accustomed to the archers' con- 
sequent failures. But we v/ondered somewhat sorrow- 
fully whether we had had the great privilege of assisting 
at one of the last Viceregal reviews of the kind, one 
of the last survivals of antediluvian periods. All nations 
have passed through similar stages, as the Scottish 
sword-dances. Highland flings, and English beefeaters 



-»i Still in the Middle Ages 

remind us. Or could it be that China is going to 
persist in living still longer in the Middle Ages? In 
the one case — for we Europeans are nothing, if we are 
not practical — let us at once buy up one of the painted 
shields, and Tiger uniforms, and too often brandished 
banners with their tribes of attended bannerets. In 
the other, let us stand back, and look aside, lest our 
hearts should be too much torn by pity when the 
great catastrophe comes, and China meets a foe who 
follows his thrusts home, and is determined to reap the 
full fruit of his victories. 




Number of Degrees. — Aged Bachelors. — Up for 
Examination. — Necessary Qualifications. — Crowding. 
— Scarcity of Posts. — Chinese Dress. 

FAR more formidable than the soldiery are the 
literati of China. Soldiering is despised in 
China ; learning is esteemed. The literati also are far 
more numerous ; they arrive in great armies, nominally 
ten thousand strong or more, and each young man of 
any standing has his pipe-bearer and three or more 
servants, possibly in the case of military students a 
horse or two and attendant grooms as well. In the 
summer of 1897 ^t Chengtu there were fourteen thousand 
candidates, who had already passed the first of the 
five examinations necessary before entering the highest 
body in China, the Hanlin College. They were all 
what is commonly Englished into B.A.'s ; that is, Shiu 
Tsai, or Budding Talent. And there were ninety-six 
deg7^ees to be conferred! Picture the disappointment 
in a land where for twelve centuries no official post 
of any kind has been conferred without preliminary 
examination. Men go up year after year, year after 
year, in many cases collecting contributions from friends 


-»i Degrees given to Octogenarians 

and patrons towards travelling expenses. Sometimes 
these contributions are given under promise that, if the 
needy student do not pass this year, he will not try 
again. But this is a promise made to be broken. And 
I believe it is really true, if a man go on competing 
for his B.A. and failing, at the age of eighty he is 
considered to have passed. 

In 1 89 1 the Governor of Yunnan said that it was 
also permissible under certain circumstances to bring to 
the notice of the Throne cases of scholars well advanced 
in years who have failed to pass their examinations for 
the degree of chiijen, and begged to recommend for 
favourable consideration the case of Lien Hsiang-yang, 
a Bachelor of over eighty years of age, who had failed 
to pass at the last examination. He had obtained his 
degree of Bachelor only nine years before, and in the 
eyes of the memorialist his praiseworthy endeavours 
to scale the heights of Parnassus ought to meet with 
some recognition. 

It is a curious method, that of a Chinese examination. 
The Literary Chancellor of the province travels round 
from city to city. Suddenly there is an influx of new 
faces, and the streets are full of strangers looking about 
them. Missionaries always say, " The students are 
swaggering about." When the Consul does not send 
out a request for Europeans to keep within-doors 
or to be careful, I straightway order my sedan-chair, 
and pretend I want to buy something near the exami- 
nation-hall. Any one, who knows the monotony of 
always blue gowns and a slouch, would understand 


Intimate China 

that the idea of 
" some one swag- 
gering " is irre- 
sistible. But so 
far I have never 
succeeded in 
seeing even one 
miHtary student 
swagger. I know 
the mandarin 
swagger, and the 
Tientsin swagger, 
which is the most 
audacious of all, 
and would make 
every one in Bond 
Street turn round to look ; and I know the young 
merchant swagger, which is amusing, and not very 
unlike a very young London clubman's swagger, when 
he does swagger. I am afraid it a little went out when 
high collars came in. But the students I have seen 
have mostly been pale, very anxious-looking young 
men, who drop in at our luncheon-time, and look with 
great interest at our foreign things, sitting on for ever, 
when they find we have actually specimens of the 
books of that most useful Society for the Diffusion 
of Christian and General Knowledge. Then they 
turn them over and are happy, till they suddenly wake 
up sadly to the fact we have no more. '' And I 
wanted to take back copies to all my friends in the 


By Rev. E. J. Piper. 

^ Brilliant Students 

town of /' said one student that I know. But 

then he did not pass. He is a reformer, a dreamer, 
as the Secretaries of Legation at Peking dub all of 
the party of progress in China ; for that city seems to 
deaden the very souls of the Diplomatic Corps, walled 
up inside it, away from all their own nationals, and full 
of their parties and theatricals and petty jealousies, 
unaware apparently that there is a great Chinese nation 
throbbing across some two thousand miles of country 
south and west. 

Then there are the brilliant students, who pass every 
time, and are going up for the Hanlin College. They 
are very much afraid of turning their attention away 
from the classics for a moment to look even at histories 
of the Japanese War or of the nineteenth century. 
They know all about the Rontgen rays, but they dare 
not be interested. They have got to pass, and to 
get means to do so they must teach other young 
men to pass preliminary examinations ; and they have 
brought the latter up with them from some small country 
town, and are responsible for them. More than the 
weight of empire seems resting upon their young 
shoulders ; but the fact that they come to see us, and 
come again, shows that they are interested in foreign 
affairs. To one I undertook to teach English in a 
six weeks' holiday last Chinese New Year season. He 
learnt the alphabet in two days ; then he learnt easy 
words ; but why cat should spell caty because bat 
spelt bat, he could not imagine. The very idea of an 
alphabet is so strange to a Chinaman. He thinks what 


Intimate China ^ 

you want him to do is to learn it by heart, and he 
conscientiously learns it. Then when you dodge him 
he is mortified. As to spelling, I know no way to make 
him understand it, until he has learnt how to spell ; 
till then it is a mystery to him. He was a most brilliant 
young scholar, who had already passed his second 
examination with great dclat, whom I essayed to teach, 
and every now and then I seemed to see glimmerings 
of understanding, but then again all became aark, as I 
tried desperately to teach him to read, so that he might 
go on teaching himself in his distant country town. 

But when the examinations are really on, no more 
students, swaggering or not swaggering, are seen 
about the streets. They are all shut up for twenty-four 
hours, and they come out in batches, according as to 
when they have done their essays, at the three watches 
of the night, tired out and hungry. They go up for 
this preliminary according to their district ; then those 
who are most successful of the different districts are 
shut up to compete against one another. At each 
examination a poem must be written in addition to two 
essays. Not uncommonly students die at these exami- 
nations. But the marvel to me is that the Literary 
Chancellor survives, for he keeps on at it pretty well 
all the time. Sometimes he is accused of being very 
much influenced by money bribes as to those he 
passes ; sometimes he is reputed honest. 

When the second of two brothers passed in the same 
year his examination as chilje7i (or M.A.), he was carried 
round Chungking in triumph in a sedan-chair ; and a 



KAN8U.2 I 

6,000,000 j'- 


^4v i 



' • i"^^ • 


•« • -^►^ 


• ,/ •J :• : 

' ••-.• \* o V « ■ • *'■■'• • 

9 \ y • KWEICHOW-I ■'♦. 

/ ^^z^s?^'-" • 




105 no J 15 120 


^ Provincial Capitals. 

# Chief Cities of Prefectures. 

n O Those not black inside are cities where the Society for the Diffusion of 
Christian and General Knowledge (by whom this map is kindly lent) has books in 

The numbers after the name in each province show the number of Christian 
Missions at work there in 1898. The numbers below the names show the population. 

^ Rules about Competitors 

favourite subject of embroidery is the triumphal return 
of the successful student, with a silk official umbrella 
borne over his head, himself mounted on a spotted 
pony, and all the village in its best clothes come out 
to do him honour. 

There are very strict rules as to who may compete 
at examinations. Barbers are not allowed to go up ; 
and a barber's son having passed brilliantly in Hupeh 
province a few years ago, his degree was taken from 
him because of his father's business. On this all the 
barbers of the principal cities of Hupeh struck work — 
a terrible position, for no Chinaman can endure life 
without frequent resort to a barber to shave afresh the 
front part of his head, and comb and plait his long 

But not only must your father not be of low 
occupation, but you must most emphatically be native 

The Peking Gazette of February 20th, 1891, records 
that ''the number of provincial graduates being limited^ 
and the right to compete for the degree of chilje7i being 
strictly confined in each province to those, who have 
attained the standing of natives thereof either through 
birth or domicile, the intrusion of outsiders is jealously 
resented, and much contention frequently takes place as 
to the origin of a successful candidate. The Censorate 
recently received a petition numerously signed by 
graduates from Kweichow, in which they represented 
that a number of persons had attained degrees in their 
province under circumstances which urgently called for 


Intimate China ^ 

an investigation. The Governor, from whom a report 
was called for on the subject, admits that the graduates 
to whom exception had been taken are not natives 
•of the province, although they are, he adds, either 
domiciled there, or the descendants of officials who have 
not been able to return to their native places. The 
province, he explains, was originally the home of the 
aborigines, and strictly speaking contains no native 
population of Chinese. The first provincial examination 
was held in the year 1537, but even then the number of 
Chinese settlers was very small. During the beneficent 
rule of the present dynasty influential families have 
flocked in from other provinces, and literature has 
received a marked impetus ; but the formality of be- 
coming domiciled subjects has very rarely been attended 
to. Indeed, had a hard-and-fast rule been adopted 
in the matter, there is good reason for believing that 
Kweichow would never have emerged from its state of 
barbarism. The last quarter of a century has witnessed 
repeated disturbances in the province, which interfered 
seriously with the regular conduct of the examinations. 
A great change has recently taken place for the better ; 
but still there are numerous cases where people have 
become domiciled and have completed the necessary 
term of residence without having made a formal report 
of the circumstances to the authorities. The memorialist 
concludes by suggesting that five of the accused gradu- 
ates should be debarred from competing next time at 
the higher examinations, and that the law respecting 
property qualification and a term of residence extending 


-Ti Classes debarred from Competition 

over twenty years should be strictly enforced for the 

Again, on April loth, 1891, "the Governor of 
Fengt'ien brings forward a grievance on the part of 
the farmers attached to the Collectorate of Rent Depart- 
ment, a branch of the Imperial household at Moukden, 
These farmers have hitherto been debarred from com- 
peting at the examinations on what would seem to be 
insufficient grounds, and have asked that their status 
be thoroughly gone into and definitely established. It 
appears there are four classes of employes attached to 
the Collectorate of Rent ; namely, the foremen of agri- 
cultural labourers, the agricultural labourers themselves^ 
labourers attached to the households of the foremen 
in a menial capacity, and foundlings brought up in 
what presumably is an orphanage. The two classes 
first enumerated are borne on the regular banner-roll 
by themselves. In a memorial presented to the 
Throne in 1862 it was requested that permission be 
given to the foremen to compete and that menials 
and foundlings be debarred. Nothing was said about 
the agricultural labourers, and the authorities did not in 
consequence feel justified in allowing themi to enter. 
These latter have, however, produced regular stamped 
title-deeds showing that they are the bona-fide holders 
of banner-land. Strictly speaking, such title-deeds 
ought never to have been issued to them ; but as they 
bear date as far back as 1791, and as it has been 
proved that they are actually borne on the same roll 
as the foremen, it would seem as if there were no 


Intimate China ^ 

distinction between them and the ordinary bannermen. 
Memorialist would point out that in 1825 the same 
question was raised with regard to the labourers tilling 
ecclesiastical lands under the Moukden Board of 
Revenue, and that it was then decided that all such, who 
were borne on the regular banner-roll, and whose record 
was without stain, should be allowed to compete. They 
accordingly would request that the matter be referred 
to the Board of Rites for consideration, and they trust 
the Board will see its way to remove the present 
restriction. — Let the Board of Rites consider and 

Yet in spite of all these restrictions '* while the 
students were rushing into the Wuchang examination- 
hall for a recent competition an errand-boy nine years 
old was trampled to death and horribly mutilated. The 
crowd was so dense that it was impossible to extricate 
the body until the space was cleared." 

The literati are generally charged with being the 
most reactionary body in China. Yet we find " Chang- 
chih-tung and the Provincial Examiner of Hupeh asking 
for permission to allow the latter to proceed by steamer 
to conduct the examinations at Chingchow and Ichang. 
They describe very graphically the extreme incon- 
venience and discomfort of the native modes of con- 
veyance, the long delays beating up against the stream, 
and the risk their papers and other belongings run of 
being lost or damaged by water. The Examiner 
mentions that on former trips, when the roads have 
been flooded, several of his coolies have been drowned 


^ Vexatious Delays 

by mistaking the paths, and all the inhabitants having 
fled before the water no accommodation was to be had 
for man or beast. To proceed by steamer would in 
every way be a saving, no risk would be run, the journey 
would be accomplished in two or three days, and the 



Students be saved the vexatious delays they have had 
to undergo in former years while awaiting the arrival 
of the Examiner, who has met w^ith delays and difficulties 
on the road. — Granted!' 

Alas ! when all is over, when men have got the right to 
compete and have competed successfully — are, for instance, 
among the ninety-six chosen out of fourteen thousand 
— what then ? According: to the Pekino- Gazette of 


Intimate China ^ 

September 22nd, " ten years ago the Governor of Honan 
asked that no expectant officials should be sent to the 
province for a period of two years, in order to relieve the 
stagnation which prevailed in the lower ranks of the Civil 
Service. The present Governor states that immediately 
after the expiration of the above period crowds of 
expectant officers again began to pour into the province, 
the evil having been greatly intensified by the renewal 
of the system of purchasing office. At the present 
moment there are 60 expectant candidates for the posts 
of Taotai, Prefect, and Senior Magistrate ; over 70 for 
those of Sub- Prefect and Assistant Sub- Prefect ; more 
than 300 aspiring to be Department and District Magis- 
trates ; and 1,020 waiting for minor appointments in 
the Civil Service. The stream of arrivals continues 
month after month, and utter congestion is the natural 
result. Considerable retrenchment is being carried out 
in the provincial administration, and the great majority 
of these expectants have little prospect of temporary 
and much less of permanent employment. A process, 
of weeding out the less meritorious could not fail to 
be attended with invidious consequences, and all the 
memorialist can suggest is that the measure introduced 
by his predecessor should be reinforced for a further 
term of two years. This will, he hopes, work off to 
some extent the present redundant supply of official 
aspirants, and, being applicable only to Honan, will 
not materially interfere with the funds raised for coast- 
defence purposes from the sale of the office. — Refem^ed 
to the consideration of the Board of Civil Office^ 


^ Numbers of Graduates 

Whilst, according to a Chinese newspaper in 1891, 
" there were over two thousand expectant military officials 
in Nanking alone, all offices were filled, and these 
expectants have scarcely any hope of obtaining one. 
A monthly examination in rifle-shooting, with rewards 
for skilful marksmen, is the only means to afford them 
a precarious livelihood. On the arrival of the new 
Viceroy Liu, the yamen was daily crowded by those, 
who had formerly fought against the Taipings, petition- 
ing for some office or commission." 

About fourteen thousand Bachelors are added to the 
list every year. There are probably close on seven 
hundred thousand Chinese graduates now living. It is 
the expectants of office, who are one of China's greatest 
dangers, men embittered by feeling that they have 
themselves been unjustly passed over, who have never 
been given opportunity to show what they could do, 
and who are incapable of doing what alone lies before 
them ; although in the west of China we have come 
across one man who had taken a high degree keeping 
a wayside inn in a very lonely place, believed by our 
coolies, as it happens, to be the resort of robbers. 

Yet notwithstanding all this the desire to learn and 
the honour for learning seem almost to overtop the 
desire for money in a Chinaman's breast, and it is 
difficult to see that there is not some special signifi- 
cance in the curious fact, in regard to the worship of 
Confucius, that he was once worshipped as a duke, at 
another time as a prince, then as an emperor, after 
which his rank was, what we should call, lowered, and 

305 X 

Intimate China ^ 

he was honoured as " the most wise ancestral teacher 
Confucius." - - ■ ^ '-'-''■' --'•^^' ^ 

Confucius is still their master in preference to 
Laotze, whom Confucius himself compared to a dragon, 
and whose writings are so spiritual as to approach closer 
to the Gospel of St. John than anything else. Both 
write about " The Way," or, as .Laotze calls it, 7"^^, on 
which word alone whole volumes have been written. Yet 
I see, in. a note made at the time of a visit, I wrote: 
''A party of young Chinese called to-day, all ready 
for their degrees, preparing for the mandarinate, and 
in, the meantime sckwa-'mg for a few days in a neighbour- 
ing guild garden. They had seen the newly arrived 
Japanese consular officials. One of them said he had 
read the Tao-teh-ching, Laotze's great book, and praised 
it as very beautiful. But the nearest they got to a 
sensible remark was : ' We do not like our women 
to . walk about. Do women with you study equally 
with men ? With us very few can read. I think it 
is a good thing they should study.' This last clause, 
though, said timorously, rather more as a feeler than 
as a decided expression of the speaker's convictions. 
They went away with some copies of Pastor Kranz's 
admirable pamphlet against footbinding, which they 
at once looked into, and pronounced very good. But 
it was curious to notice how eager they were to learn 
who the writer was." 

And now how can one dismiss the literati without 
a remark upon Chinese dress ? Louis le Comte, Jesuit 
and Confessor to the Duchess of Burgundy, makes 


^ Jesuit Father on Chinese Dress 

such quaint comments upon it in his letters, written 
in 1687, I prefer to quote from them ; for although 
they are steadily shortening their jackets and narrowing 
their sleeves, thus approximating more and more to 
the European style, the Chinese, having once thought 
out the best style of dress for their habits and climate, 
adhere to it still. Father le Comte, writing of their 
caps, says : '' They add also a great flake of red silk, 
which, hanging irregularly, gives a particularly pleasing 
grace as the head moves." I have never quite seen 
it in this way, but, thanks to the good Father, I hope 
to notice this '' pleasing grace " when I return to China. 
'* In riding they wear a sort of long hair, dyed of a 
brisk shining red, which rain will not deface. It grows 
white upon the legs of cows in Szechuan, and, receiving 
this tincture, is dearer than the finest silk." This must 
evidently be off Tibetan yaks' legs, and is very familiar 
to me, and also I think very effective. '* In summer 
their neck appears bare, and is no good sight." I 
quite agree with the Father here ; in fact, the more a 
Chinaman's person is covered up the better, I always 
think. Their brocades and furs are a '' very good 
sight." "• They wear boots always ; and when any 
person visits them, if they have not their boots on, 
they will make them wait till they go and fetch them." 
But this probably is rather true of officials than of 

In conclusion, I must say I like the young literati 
of China. They seem to me very much like the 
young men of other nations, except that they are 


Intimate China ^ 

more easily amused, and amuse me less. I am told 
they hate foreigners and are very dissipated. It may 
be so, but they seem to me very good-humoured and 
easy-goiaig. They love fine clothes, and are sometimes 
very smartly dressed ; and they are on the whole cleaner 
and somewhat nicer in their ways than the rest of the 
community. The hope of China, I think, is in the 
young literati. But I can quite understand that they 
do not show their best side to missionaries, any more 
than rather arrogant young agnostics, fresh from the 
learning of the schools, would to hard-working Evan- 
gelical curates, if such curates exist still in England. 
I have no doubt, however, they are not really quite as 
nice as they seem to be. Perhaps, however, that is 
true of all young men. 

Note. — Those who wish to see an enlightened 
Chinaman's views on education may like to refer to 
Prince Kung's Memorial on the following page. 




Your Majesty's servant and other Ministers of the 
Council for Foreign Afiairs on their knees present 
this memorial in regard to regulations for teaching 
Astronomy and the selection of students. 

The sciences being indispensable to the under- 
standing of machinery and the manufacture of firearms, 
we have resolved on erecting for this purpose a special 
department in the Tung-wen College, to which scholars 
of a high grade may be admitted, and in which men 
from the West shall be invited to give instruction. 

The scheme having met with your Majesty's 
approval, we beg to state that it did not originate in 
a fondness for novelties, or in admiration for the 
abstract subtleties of Western science, but solely from 
the consideration that the mechanical arts of the West 
all have their source in the science of Mathematics. 
Now, if the Chinese Government desires to introduce 
the building of steamers and construction of machinery, 
and yet declines to borrow instruction from the men 
of the West, there is danger lest, following our own 
ideas, we should squander funds to no purpose. 

We have weighed the matter maturely before 
laying it before the Throne. But among persons who 
are unacquainted with the subject there are some who 
will regard this matter as unimportant ; some who will 


Intimate China ^ 

censure us as wrong in abandoning the methods of 
China for those of the West ; and some who will even 
denounce the proposal that Chinese should submit to 
be instructed by people of the West as shameful in 
the extreme. Those who urge such objections are 
ignorant of the demands of the times. 

In the first place it is high time that some plan 
should be devised for infusing new elements of strength 
into the government of China. Those who understand 
the times are of opinion that the only way of effecting 
this is to introduce the learning and mechanical arts 
of Western nations. Provincial governors, such as Tso 
Tsung-tang and Li Hung-chang, are firm in this con- 
viction, and constantly presenting it in their addresses 
to the Throne. The last-mentioned officer last year 
opened an arsenal for the manufacture of arms, and 
invited men and officers from the metropolitan garrison 
to go there for instruction ; while the other established 
in Foochow a school for the study of foreign languages 
and arts, with a view to the instruction of young men 
in ship-building and the manufacture of engines. The 
■ urgency of such studies is, therefore, an opinion which 
is not confined to us, your servants. 

Should it be said that the purchase of firearms 
and steamers has been tried, and found to be both 
cheap and convenient, so that we may spare ourselves 
the trouble and expense of home production, we reply 
that it is not merely the manufacture of arms and 
the construction of ships that China needs to learn. 
But in respect to these two objects, which is the 
wiser course, in view of the future — to content ourselves 
with purchase, and leave the source of supply in the 


^ Prince Kung's Memorial 

hands of others, or to render ourselves independent 
by making ourselves masters of their arts — it is hardly 
necessary to inquire. 

As to the imputation of abandoning the methods 
of China, is it not altogether a fictitious charge ? For, 
on inquiry, it will be found that Western science had 
its root in the astronomy of China, which Western 
scholars confess themselves to have derived from Eastern 
lands. They have minds adapted to reasoning and 
abstruse study, so that they were able to deduce from 
it new arts which shed a lustre on those nations ; 
but, in reality, the original belonged to China, and 
Europeans learned it from us. If, therefore, we 
apply ourselves to those studies, our future progress 
will be built on our own foundation. Having the root 
in our possession, we shall not need to look to others 
for assistance, an advantage which it is impossible to 

As to the value to be set on the science of the 
West, your illustrious ancestor, Kang Hsi, gave it his 
hearty approbation, promoting its teachers to offices of 
conspicuous dignity, and employing them to prepare 
the Imperial calendar; thus setting an example of 
liberality equalled only by the vastness of his all- 
comprehending wisdom. Our dynasty ought not to 
forget its own precedents, especially in relation to a 
matter which occupied the first place among the studies 
of the ancients. 

In olden times yeomen and common soldiers were 
all acquainted with Astronomy ; but in later ages an 
interdict was put upon it, and those who cultivated 
this branch of science became few. In the reign of 


Intimate China <^ 

Kang Hsi the prohibition was removed, and astronomical 
science once more began to flourish. Mathematics 
were studied together with the classics, the evidence 
of which we find in the published works of several 
schools. A proverb says, " A thing unknown is a 
scholars shame." Now, when a man of letters, on 
stepping from his door, raises his eyes to the stars, 
and is unable to tell what they are, is not this enough 
to make him blush ? Even if no schools were estab- 
lished, the educated ought to apply themselves to such 
studies. How much more so when a goal is proposed 
for them to aim at? 

As to the allegation that it is a shame to learn 
from the people of the West, this is the absurdest 
charge of all. For, under the whole heaven, the deepest 
disgrace is that of being content to lag in the rear 
of others. For some tens of years the nations of the 
West have applied themselves to the study of steam 
navigation, each imitating the others, and dally pro- 
ducing some new Improvement. Recently, too, the 
Government of Japan has sent men to England for 
the purpose of acquiring the language and science of 
Great Britain. This was with a view to the building 
of steamers, and It will not be many years before they 

Of the jealous rivalry among the nations of the 
Western Ocean It Is unnecessary to speak ; but when 
so small a country as Japan Is putting forth alL its 
energies. If China alone continues to tread Indolently 
in the beaten track, without a single effort in the way 
of improvement, what can be more disgraceful than 
this ? Now, not to be ashamed of our inferiority, but 


^ Prince Kung's Memorial 

when a measure is proposed by which we may equal 
or even surpass our neighbours, to object to the shame 
of learning from them, and for ever refusing to learn, 
to be content with our inferiority — is not such meanness 
of spirit itself an indelible reproach ? 

If it be said that machinery belongs to artisans, and 
that scholars should not condescend to such employ- 
ments, in answer to this we have a word to say. Why 
is it that the book in the Ckao-lt, on the structure of 
chariots, has for some thousands of years been a 
recognised text-book in all the schools ? Is it not 
because, while mechanics do the work, scholars under- 
stand the principles ? When principles are understood, 
their application can be extended. The object which 
we propose for study to-day is the principles of things. 
To invite educated men to enlarge the sphere of 
their knowledge by investigating the laws of nature 
is a very different thing from compelling them to take 
hold of the tools of the working man. What other 
point of doubt is left for us to clear up ? 

In conclusion we would say that the object of 
study is utility, and its value must be judged by its 
adaptation to the wants of the times. Outsiders may 
vent their doubts and criticisms, but this measure is 
one that calls for decisive action. Your servants have 
considered it maturely. As the enterprise is a new 
one, its principles ought to be carefully examined. To 
stimulate candidates to enter in earnest on the proposed 
curriculum, they ought to have a liberal allowance from 
the public treasury to defray their current expenses, and 
have the door of promotion set wide open before them. 
We have accordingly agreed on six regulations, which 


Intimate China ^ 

we herewith submit to the. eye of your Majesty, and 
wait reverently for the Imperial sanction. 

We are of opinion that the junior members of 
the Hanlin Institute, being men of superior attainments, 
while their duties are not onerous, if they were appointed 
to study Astronomy and Mathematics, would find those 
sciences an easy acquisition. With regard to scholars 
of the second and third grades, as also mandarins of 
the lower ranks, we request your Majesty to open the 
portals and admit them to be examined as candidates, 
that we may have a larger number from whom to select 
men of ability for the public service. 

Laying this memorial before the Throne, we beseech 
the Empresses-Regent and the Emperor to cast on it 
their sacred glance, and to give us their instructions. 




Tseng Kuo Fan. — "Neither envious nor fawning." — 
Repose of Manner. — Cultivation of Land. — Early 
Rising, Diligence in Business, and Perseverance. — 
Dignity. — Family Worship. — Reading. 

SOME extracts from a Chinese father's letters to 
his son will probably do more to explain what is 
thought admirable in a Chinese young man than pages of 
commentary. The son in this case was the late Marquis 
Tseng, during many years Chinese Minister in London. 
The writer was his father, the celebrated Tseng Kuo 
Fan, in whose honour a temple has been put up at 
Wuchang opposite Hankow. Grandson of a Hunan 
farmer, son of a humble scholar, this Chinese Chester- 
field passed his first examination at twenty-one ; and 
continuing steadily to pass examinations, he was a 
Hanlin student at twenty-eight, Chief Examiner for the 
Province of Szechuan at thirty-two, Deputy-Supervisor 
of Instruction in Peking, and nominally in charge of 
the education of the future Emperor at thirty-four. 
During the Taiping rebellion he had to become a 
General ; and it was during all the troubles of this 
rebellion his letters were written. It was his devoted 
brother, then a Viceroy, who published the Life and 


Intimate China <*- 

Writings of Tseng Kuo Fan. The latter, just as his 
son was becoming a man, wrote to him as follows: 

** From my earliest years I have been a student of 
the ancient sages. Among their thousand words and 
myriad sayings there is no sentence more striking or 
suggestive than the little phrase of four characters, 
j>u chi, pu c/iin (neither envious nor fawning). Cki 
means to be envious of the virtuous, and malignant 
towards the influential. The fact that any one lacks the 
spirit or the ambition to walk in the path of rectitude 
Is no reason why he should be afraid of the success of 
others. Ck^n means that you will sink all to gain name 
and wealth, and then be in a constant state of unrest 
lest these treasures should be lost. Such a disposltipn 
as either the former or the latter is the characteristic 
of the 'small man.' As Viceroy of Chlhll I constantly 
see men of equal rank and abilities manifesting a spirit 
of envy, animated only by the spirit of self-seeking and 
suspicion. If you desire to secure happiness In this 
life, you must get rid of the spirit of envy. If yqu 
desire to act properly and set a good example, you must 
abhor the character of the sycophant. The one leads 
to the other's Injury, and the other Is the spirit of the 
robber. I dare not affirm that I have swept my heart 
of these two evils; but I wish, nevertheless, to warn 
you and your brothers of these deformities." 

Here is a characteristic bit of Chinese advice: 
" With regard to your walking, I observe that your 
jnanner is too animated. Are you more quiet now ? 
Your utterance is also far too rapid for clearness of 


-»i Cultivation of Land 

pronunciation. You should cultivate more repose of 
manner. Are you improving in these two respects ? 
These two cautions you are to keep constantly in mind, 
and see if you cannot make a change for the better." 

One has constantly to remind oneself in China that 
the stolidity one sees around one is assumed in accord- 
ance with etiquette, and that in reality far more emotion 
is felt than shown in a land where only street arabs 
dare to be altogether natural and smile when they see 

In all the throes of the revolution the busy states- 
man yet had time to think, like Mr. Gladstone, of la 
petite culture : 

'' I think it would be well for you to select several 
plots of land, and devote them exclusively to the 
raising of vegetables. At our cantonments I have 
turned many of our braves into gardeners. The land 
has been laid out in beds thirty feet by five, separated 
by paths and little water-ways, so that the vegetables 
should not be drowned after heavy rains. In the 
province of Szechuan I first saw gardening of this kind. 
The processes of irrigation are there carried to great 
perfection ; and they seem certainly to have caught the 
ideas and practice of the ancients. In our region of the 
country very little land is set aside for the cultivation 
of vegetables. I wish my family to set the precedent 
of taking seemingly sterile tracts of mountainous land 
or wet, marshy places, and making them useful in raising 
fruit and vegetables. Though the cultivation of tea 
may yield greater profit in some of the valleys, yet I 

321 Y 

Intimate China ^ 

am convinced if my scheme is carried out no one 
need complain of poverty in all that region. All that 
is needed is to be judicious and persevering." 

But his letter on hearing of his son's marriage Is 
more striking. It will be observed there Is no comment 
on either the looks or character of the new bride, 
no hope ever expressed that she may be such as to 
conduce to his son's happiness. Any such Idea would 
be strange to a Chinaman : 

'' Your letter containing an account of your marriage 
has been duly received. It will be a great pleasure 
to your mother to have a daughter-in-law. I am also 
greatly rejoiced that the affair Is so happily ended. 
Now that your household is established, It behoves 
you to follow the example of successful men In regu- 
lating your domestic affairs. One habit to be especially 
cultivated Is that of early rising. In summer and 
winter alike In our family our ancestors were never 
In bed after four o'clock In the morning. My great- 
grandfather, Ching HsI-kung, and grandfather, Hsing 
Kang-kung, usually arose before daylight In all seasons 
of the year. My father, Chu T'Ing-kung, if he had 
any important business on hand, would often rise 
once or twice during the night, and begin operations 
often before dawn. You yourself can bear witness 
to that fact. I trust that these family habits, which 
have been conserved with such good effects these 
many generations, will not be discontinued. You 
should set an example of early rising, diligence In 
business, and perseverance before your wife, and thus 


-^ Early Rising, Perseverance, and Deportment 

lead her to cultivate the same virtues. Here, as in 
all things, practice makes perfect. As to myself, I 
have found that when I lacked in perseverance nothing 
was completed, and character as well as business 
suffered. This I consider disgraceful in the extreme. 
Afterwards, when appointed to military command, I 
made up my mind to execute my sovereign's will to 
the best of my abilities. However, even in this good 
purpose I regret that I have so often lagged, much 
to my shame and discomfiture. 

" I observe with respect to your general deportment 
that you are too frivolous by far. This is a most 
grievous defect. If there is one virtue more than 
another which our ancestors emulated, it was that o( 
dignity. In everything it is proper that one observe 
a decorous and dignified behaviour. 

'* These three admonitions, then, you are to keep 
constantly in mind — namely, early rising, perseverance, 
and decorum. Thus you will preserve the traditions 
of the family, establish your own character, and that 
of your household. Lack of perseverance is my 
crowning defect, as levity is yours. By diligence in 
the correction of these blemishes, we shall sustain the 
habits and traditions of our ancestors, cover up my 
past deficiencies, and complete your own character, 
which is my highest desire for you. By thus setting 
an example before your younger brother, you w^ill do 
more to bring good fortune to the family than in any 
other way. 

"In view of the removal of your uncle to another 


Intimate China ^ 

place, you are now In the responsible position of head 
of the family. Our ancestor, Hsing Kang, was very 
particular in the management of his family. There 
were four things which he insisted upon as of prime 
Importance — namely, early rising, cleanliness, the con- 
tinuance of the practice of ancestral worship, and, 
fourthly, wisdom In Intercourse with our relatives and 
neighbours. If they are In trouble, you are always to 
be ready to lend assistance, and also to rejoice with 
them In their joy. If they are estranged, you are to 
act the part of peacemaker. In sickness you are to 
manifest sympathetic interest, and at funerals you are 
to offer condolences. These four things, together with 
your studies and the cultivation of the garden, are to 
be kept constantly before your mind, and diligently 
observed. If because of your studies you cannot 
attend to these various duties, you are still to keep a 
general oversight, and be well informed as to what Is 
going on. 

"With reference to family worship, your mother Is 
to be specially careful to reserve the best utensils in 
the house for that purpose ; also the best of the food 
and drink are to be used. No family can expect 
long continuance of prosperity or life which neglects 
these Important particulars." 

It should be borne In mind this is the letter of a 
follower of Confucius and a member of China's most 
learned Hanlin College ; yet he does not treat family 
worship and the utensils to be used for it as otherwise 
than " most important." 


^ Study and Meditation 

It might be a busy London lawyer writing this 
advice to his son on study : 

'' The present will be a good time for you to read 
extensively in miscellaneous literature, and add to your 
general information on all subjects. It is most difficult 
in this busy and confused world to get time for quiet 
study and meditation. When the opportunity is given 
you, you should by no means allow it to pass unheeded. 
On the i6th of next month I expect to start from 
Nanking on a tour of inspection up and down the 
river, and may not return till the end of the month. 
It will give me the greatest pleasure to hear of your 
perseverance in study, and I trust you will continuously 
put forth your powers in the line of intellectual 

After noticing the simplicity of spirit and careful 
attention to details in these letters, it is touching to 
read this later one : 

" To MY Son Chi-tse, — 

'' For successive years I have had my memorials 
to the Throne copied and filed away. I am now selecting 
the more important ones to be carefully copied for your 
use. Together with my letters I trust you will have 
them carefully deposited at home, so that they can be 
handed down from generation to generation of our 
descendants. But the letters to you and your brothers 
especially are on no account to be cut in boards or 
printed for the perusal of others. Very few of these 
letters or memorials are worthy of public notice. The 
series of essays and poems which I have written after 


Intimate China ^ 

the style of the ancient worthies, and collected in a 
volume entitled Li T^uan Chat, has been copied, and 
can be given to others for inspection. It will soon be 
printed, and disposed of for general circulation. But 
the letters, memorials, and essays outside of that volume 
are to be sacredly preserved. Some of these were 
written when I was a young man, and my style was 
unformed. Their publication would bring no glory to 
the family. If any of our friends should crave their 
perusal, you will in courteous language decline to allow 
them to be seen." 

His directions were disregarded, or we should not 
have these letters. There is a whole book full of 
them ; but these few extracts will give some insight into 
the nature of a very exemplary Chinese father's admoni- 
tions, perhaps even more from what he leaves out than 
from what he says. • The son thus carefully trained 
seems in every way to have done credit to his father. 
One of his sons, again a lad of singular charm and 
great promise, died early ; another seems more pleasant 
than distinguished. His nephew and adopted son is 
one of the prominent, though possibly not leading, 
members of the party of progress in Shanghai. 




Monastery near Ichang. — For the Dead. — Near 
Ningpo. — Buddhist Service — Tien Dong. — Omi 
Temples. — Sai King Shan. — Monastery of the 
Particoloured CHff. 

THE country round Ichang has always some special 
beauty, and in autumn it is the tints, shown to 
especial advantage on the tallow-trees. But one day 
we gathered by the wayside lovely anemones, still 
lingering on in sheltered spots ; large gentians, with 
their edges picked out into delicate feathery streamers 
such as one finds in picotees, the little yellow originator 
of all the garden chrysanthemums ; China asters ; China 
daisies ; the cunningly placed red berries of the spindle- 
tree ; and branches crowded with the fairylike red 
berries of the Chmese hawthorn. And yet we were 
in the weird, arid, conglomerate region, where, as the 
botanist of the party said, no flower would dream of 
growing that could grow anywhere else. The Cherokee 
roses were no longer in bloom. Are these innocent, 
white, large roses at the bottom of the American horror 
of Chinese immigration ? It may be remembered that, 
originating from China, they spread over America with 
such rapidity that it was assumed they must be of 


Intimate China ^ 

native origin, and from their aggressive nature they 
were given the name, by which they are still known, 
of Cherokee. 

We made our way to my first monastery, so 
conspicuous an object to every visitor to these regions, 
planted on a rocky spur of about fifteen hundred feet 
high, that not only overhangs precipitously the country 
beneath, but is separated by a chasm of some one 
thousand feet from the adjoining hills. Crossing this 
chasm on a rock bridge about three feet wide, and, 
as usual in China, railless, required more nerve than one 
of our party possessed, and the subsequent climb was 
more trying still up the steps cut out of the steep rock 
on to the Buddhist temple, that appropriately crowns the 
whole summit, and which, were it in any more accessible 
region, would have been " photographed like this and 
photographed like that," like any professional beauty. 
As it was, I had never seen a picture of it, and was quite 
eager to take my camera to photograph the mountain- 
top, as also the massive wall of conglomerate rock 
that builds up the co/ one has to climb in ascending, 
and from which one obtains one of those extra- 
ordinary desolate views characteristic of conglomerate 
country — a valley ending in an abrupt gully with 
dry waterbed, and dry waterfalls down precipices 
marked with pudding-holes, all scoring parallel horizontal 
lines across their stern surfaces. We came across 
brecciated conglomerate in which there were some bits of 
most exquisite glistening marble, and in which we again 
noticed the peculiarity, that at every fracture it was the 


-Ti A Beautiful Ascent 

marble and stones, of which it was formed, that were 
cleft through the middle, as evidently more breakable 
than the apparently soft-looking red cement that bound 
them together. 

The way up was beautiful. We passed by pictur- 
esque farmsteads nestling in hollows, elegant shrines, 
and the grove the Reeves' pheasants particularly love. 
It is of pendulous cypress, called funedjHs, but suggest- 
ing anything but funereal associations by its pleasing 
grace. Palm-trees grew on the hillside, also bamboo, 
cunninghamia, ilex, and beautiful soap-trees, with the 
great long pods from which the soap is m.ade, and 
tree-like thorns projecting from their stems, such as 
must effectually baffle any monkey-climbers. In four 
examples we saw these thorn branches had again 
other thorns projecting from them. The path is an 
easy one, carefully laid out by the priests for the 
convenience of pilgrims ; and although there must 
be over five hundred steps, they do not come all 
together ; so that few climbs of equal height can be so 
easily managed as that to the monastery of Yuen Ti 
Kuan, whose site, if paralleled, could hardly be sur- 
passed. It is like that of some wild eyrie on w^hich 
an eagle might be expected to build its nest, but 
where we should hardly expect practical, prosaic (so 
called) Chinamen to build a place of worship, simply 
to give themselves the further additional trouble of 
climbing so high. It seems that after all the Chinese 
have a religion of their own, which they deem holy, 
though it is often convenient to ignore this. There are 


Intimate China ^ 

many Shansi men in these parts, and one of our fellow- 
travellers, a man from Shansi, being asked why this 
was, when his province used formerly to be the 
granary of the empire, replied at once, " The hearts 
of the people have become corrupted." 

As we came back, there were about four miles of 
little lanterns floating down the great river, sped in 
honour of the dead by a rich Chinese in mourning 
for his parents. Talleyrand's somewhat brutal " II 
faut oublier les morts, et s'occuper des vivants " often 
recurs to me in China, where there are more grave- 
mounds round the city than living men inside it. The 
very handsome old Italian Bishop used to hate these 
grave-mounds, which he said oppressed him the more 
the longer he looked at them, and among which, alas ! 
he was doomed to live and die. 

It w^as near Ningpo I first assisted at a Chinese 
Buddhist service. We had been straying over hills 
pink and red and orange and mauve with azaleas in 
their full delicate bloom and perfect beauty. The most 
exquisite bush of pink azaleas hung over the great 
waterfall there, and caught some of the spray upon its 
blossoms, as the stream turned over the edge for its 
first leap, the flowers constantly wavering with the 
breeze the rushing waters brought. Wandering by 
lovely Windermere's side in the English Lake District, 
I had read Miss Gordon Cumming's description of 
hillsides striped and banded in colour with azaleas, and 
thought some day I too must see them. The seasons 
had rolled round but twice, and now here was I already 


^ Priests' Patchwork Clothes 

tired of pink azaleas, which I decided looked too smart 
on a mountain-side, and preferring the big orange 
flowers or the deep red, or revelling in the long 
clusters of sweet-scented wistaria, that hung about like 
lovely ringlets ; looking with exultation at osmundias 
curving their opening fronds with the full vigour and 
health imparted to them by the spring, and delighting 
in the clumps of feathery bamboos, golden stemmed 
old friends of my childhood ; yet admiring almost equally 
Ctiuninghamia sinensis on its native heath. We plant 
little saplings of this last in our gardens, and boast 
with them even then. Here they were tall and vigorous, 
and everywhere giving an Oriental character to the 
ferns and the azaleas, the bamboos and fan-palms. 

Then the rich, sweet tones of the Buddhist bell 
summoned us, and we slept, as it were prisoned, 
within the dark precincts of the monastery, not even 
through latticed windows catching any glimpse of 
outside glories, till solemn sounds roused me In the 
early dawning, and I stole in at the back of the dark 
temple, and could hardly believe I was not In one of 
the Portuguese churches of my childhood. There knelt 
the priests, with close-shaven heads, and long cloaks 
broached across the left breast, leaving the right arm bare, 
and formed of lltde oblong bits of old gold or ashen 
grey linen, neatly stitched together, thus symbolising at 
some expenditure of pains the poverty of rags. They 
prostrated themselves three times, touching their fore- 
heads to the ground — before the altar, was It not ? 
They bowed and knelt before the altar ! They elevated 

Intimate China ^ 

the Host, or at least a cup, one ringing. a bell mean- 
while, the others prostrate in adoration. Could the 
resemblance be more perfect ? They chanted a monoto- 
nous chant — it sounded to me just like a Gregorian — and 
after many bowings and prostrations and beatings of a 
dull wooden gong in the form of a skull, processioned 
round and round before the altar, bowing as they 
passed, each a rosary at his side, and solemnly chanting. 
There seemed to be no doubt about the words ; I 
heard them quite distinctly : " Domine, ora pro nobis, 
ora, ora." Then " Gloria ! gloria ! " swelled out. And 
meanwhile, though passing me at intervals so closely I 
almost felt the fi^ou-frou of their robes, not a priest 
there seemed to perceive my presence, but all went 
by with eyes on the ground, fingers and palms close 
pressed together. A strange feeling came over me, 
as if I were dreaming. Had the azaleas intoxicated 
me ? Was I in far-away Madeira of my childhood ? 
Were those not Portuguese Roman Catholic priests, 
not Chinese Buddhists ? Were they praying really ? 
To our Father in heaven ? Or are there more gods 
than one ? If not, they were worshipping, and I was 
not. And had this worship gone on after this fashion 
for thousands of years, before even Christ walked the 
earth, and lived and died for man ? I knelt In prayer 
behind the Buddhist priests. And then I saw the 
figure of the Virgin with the Holy Child upon her 
knee. They call her Kwanyin (Goddess of Mercy). 

Outside the door stood t\vo beautiful Salisburia 
adiantifolia, the sacred tree of the Japanese. The 


Sacred Tree of Japanese 

From Picture by Chinese Artist. 

breeze rustled through their graceful leaves, resembling 
the lobes of the maidenhair, and I felt that they could 
tell me all about it, if they pleased, for they had grown 


Intimate China ^ 

up amongst it. The blue sky overhead tells no tales, 
and the azaleas were of yesterday. Then a young 
priest came up to question me, and to ask me if I 
could say '' Omito Fo." " Blessed is Buddha " I took it 
to mean ; and assuredly he must be blessed, if ever 
man were, for the good that he has done for his kind. 
But since then I hear that learned men attribute various 
meanings to the phrase, and their meanings I do not 
understand. Nor, I am sure, w^ould those priests. They 
did not look so very clever. I meant what they meant. 
" Our temple wants new tiles, Omito Fo." " We are 
very poor, Omito Fo." Praise God Barebones meant the 
same, I fancy, by his " Praise God." '' But Buddha was 
a man," I hear some one say. Well ! then go to 
Tibet, and tell me what the uninstructed but beautiful 
Tibetan means, as he walks along the street mur- 
muring, '' Om Mani Padmi Hum." '' The Jewel is in 
the Lotus ? " What does he mean by saying it, wise 
man ? I do not ask what you think the words may 
originally have signified or symbolised. Is it not 
now simply a " Praise the Lord of Life " ? 

The next monastery we visited was the stately 
T*ien Dong. Avenues of magnificent trees led up to 
squares with giant trees enclosing them, terraces, and 
ponds covered with the sacred lotus. The entrance 
and approach prepared one for more than man could 
ever realise inside. The Parthenon would have looked 
small and the Pantheon empty after that approach. 
As it was, I certainly did not think much of the 
temples, and the guest-rooms were dark. But the 


-»5 A Post-captain and a Peony 

trees behind were beautiful, and had enticing paths 
leading on into the wood. There was a very well- 
dressed Chinaman going in. He turned out to be the 
captain of a man-of-war. I have often pleased myself 
since by believing he was Captain, afterwards Admiral, 
Ting. He asked if we should like to be introduced 
to his particular friend the chief priest. Within the 
inner courts there was a blush-rose peony-plant covered 
with blossom. Before this the post-captain stood in 
rapt adoration. It was evident that he had really 
brought us to show us this, as one of the wonders of 
the world. The Chinese especially esteem peonies of 
this shade of colour. And it was indeed a lovely 
sight, and must have carried off the prize at any 
show at which it was exhibited, so carefully had it 
been grown, and so completely was it covered with 
blossom. But I had seen flowers before, never a 
Buddhist high-priest, nor a Chinese post-captain. The 
latter led us into the pleasant reception-room. On 
the couch sulked a mandarin we had met several times 
already, always wearing a scowl, and a magnificent 
gown of cream satin richly embossed. He scowled 
now, and without a feint of courtesy of any kind at 
once seated himself in the seat of honour. Then the 
chief priest came in, with nothing to indicate his grandeur 
beyond particularly civil manners. He had also a 
bustling cheeriness, which was probably all his own, 
not belonging to his office, as he begged us to sit at 
the round table, and partake of the various sweets 
with which it was spread. Delicious tea was brought 

337 z 

Intimate China ^ 

in, of a kind very costly even in China, scented with 
jasmine flowers. Then, having dispensed hospitalities, 
pointed out the peony, and generally made us welcome, 
the chief priest bustled away, carrying off the post- 
captain into some inner apartment. And a comfortable- 
looking Ningpo merchant, spending a few days at the 
temple with his family, with that geniality that seems 
to be a Ningpo characteristic, began to introduce the 
various members of his family, and generally make 
friends. But the cream-coated gentleman still sat and 
scowled. It was disagreeable ; and so, though every 
one says one cannot, I determined to treat this scornful 
mandarin as if he were after all a human being. And 
looking round with a bow and a smile, as if I had never 
noticed his rudeness, I took the seat indicated to me 
at the table, at which he had already seated himself. 
After all a mandarin is human. He looked surprised 
of course, but smiled too ; and after that we saw his 
scowl no more, but received a very polite bow and 
smile, when after a little while he in his turn went away. 

Years passed, and I saw no more of monasteries 
till we went to Omi's sacred mountain in the far, far 
west of China. 

At one temple, at which we tried to spend the 
night, we were met by point-blank refusal. The priests 
said their rooms were full. We might have believed 
them, had they risen to receive us and offered us tea. 
But meeting with cold incivility, we believed rather 
the Temple of the Elephants' Pool was too rich to be 
beguiled by foreign offerings into receiving heretics, as 


^^ On Omi's Sacred Summit 

we pushed on through the gathering night and rising 
mist up and up along a ^6>/-Hke knife-edge and by 
beautiful trees to a little temple, where they did their 
best to make us comfortable according to our to them 
most strange tastes, and then begged like beggars for 
some of my husband's clothes, because the young priest 
in charge of the temple had set his foolish fancy on 
trying foreign clothes, and like a child could not be 
turned from his point. 

At the top of the mountain we spent a fortnight 
in the Golden Monastery. The priest whose especial 
duty it was to entertain strangers received us from 
the first with great courtesy, but he informed us that 
anything we ate must be eaten in the privacy of 
our own apartment. And as at first we had none 
(for we could not, till we had tried all round and 
failed, resign ourselves to one room giving on to 
the mountain-side, out of which it had been dug, 
and with only one window, that did not open), this 
resulted in our taking our first meal upon the mountain- 
top al fresco on the grass, the monastery, however, very 
kindly supplying us with hot water for our tea. Then, 
finding no other temple could or would receive us, 
we promised to take no life whilst upon the sacred 
mountain, and only to eat our shocking foreign food 
in the one room assigned to us, having it cooked in 
the adjoining one, given over to our two servants and 
eight coolies. The priests used to come in and out all 
day, and offer us tea and sweetmeats ; but they never 
would even drink tea out of our cups, for fear of any 


Intimate China ^ 

defilement of previous milk still clinging round them. 
That monastery struck us as both strict and carefully 
managed, the chief priest, who had the air and bearing 
of a saint, spending hours in solitary devotion in the 
temple on the verge of the great precipice. 

All the temples on the mountain's top were burnt 
down a few years ago. But the exquisite Bronze 
Temple, on the edge of the precipice, to which every 
province in the empire contributed, has never been 
rebuilt after its sad destruction, beautiful fragments 
alone remaining ; and the rough pine-wood temples 
round it appeared all at daggers drawn. Our Golden 
Temple was bringing an action against another for 
placing a golden pinnacle as the centre ornament of 
its roof, thus building up a pretext to filch from it its 
immemorial golden title ; whilst another temple accused 
ours of having intentionally lit the fire that consumed 
it. We did not believe this of our temple, for even 
its boy priests were hard-working, good little boys, 
who knelt and burnt incense with reverence too ; whilst 
the young priests of the adjoining temples were bold, 
bad youths, of ribald laughter, importunate curiosity, 
and great effrontery. There was, however, one temple 
where the priests appeared always wrapped in devotion, 
whenever I looked in. They had not yet begun re- 
building, perhaps were still praying for funds, as they 
knelt among their burnt* and charred images. 

There were outlying temples on distant points of 
vantage, each inhabited by a solitary priest. One had 
long attracted us by its exquisite neatness, and the pro- 


-^ A Hermit's Home 

priety and cleanliness of its arrangements. Its occupant 
was away on a pilgrimage, but he returned before we 
left the mountain, and we were not surprised to find him 
a young man of great gravity and much courtesy. We 
had already studied his kitchen, with its kettle hanging 
from the rafters by a chain and a jointed stick ; also 
observed his closet-bed, which, in accordance with the 
stricter rule, was but a wooden seat, so that neither 
day nor night could he lie down. We now saw how 
carefully washed were the feet in his straw sandals ; 
also what superior straw sandals he had brought up 
to sell to pilgrims who had worn out theirs ; and how 
particular he was to make no profit upon the transaction, 
when we bought a pair, and inadvertently slightly 
overpaid for them. But our acquaintance was not long 
or intimate enough to arrive at anything of the spiritual 
life beneath that exterior propriety. He it was who 
told us there was a way down the back of the mountain 
into the Wilderness, where the wild cattle roam, and 
that, though bad, he could not say other than that it 
was possible, seeing he had just passed along it — this 
though he could see our coolies' imploring gestures, and 
hear their rather audibly muttered curses. They had 
every one of them sworn there was no path. But there 
was, and the young hermit could not say otherwise. 
We often thought of him, as we all fell headlong 
going down that path, that certainly did exist, and 
enabled us to proceed to our next sacred mountain 
without descending into the burning, cholera-stricken 


Intimate China ^ 

There were only -three priests at the temple on the 
Sai King Shan. One was old and useless ; one was 
shivering with ague, which seemed strangely out of 
place on the mountain ; but we did not learn how 
long he had been there — only relieved him with quinine. 
And the whole work and administration seemed to be 
carried on by the young priest, who had led us up 
the mountain, and who by various begging excursions 
had amassed enough money to buy it for four hundred 
gold dollars, so as to save it from the havoc of the 
wood-cutters, who had for years past been cutting 
down all the trees. This young priest took care of 
the potatoes, collected the mushrooms that made such 
an exquisite symphony in cream and brown when spread 
out in the sunshine to dry, and did everything, it seemed, 
that was done. But we could not find out that religious 
services were among the number. It was the aged 
priest who lit sticks of incense before the images in 
the morning. 

Since then, however, we have stayed in a monastery 
with which his and the Golden Temple on Omi both 
are associated. The Monastery of the Particoloured 
Cliff is only about fifteen miles from Chungking. The 
entrance is at once striking, from the perspective of 
the carefully planted shrubs, the flights of steps, the 
carvings, and careful adjusting of the path, with sudden 
corners, so that it never leads straight onward, admitting 
free access to evil spirits. This is a prevalent Chinese 
superstition, leading to the almost universal practice of 
placing screens across their entrances either within or 


-^ Monastery of the Particoloured Cliff 

without. It is a part of their Fimg shin, their wind 
and water religion. 

Much etiquette w^as observed in the method of our 
admission into Hoa Ngai. We brought gifts, as we 

Bv Mrs. Archibald Little. 

were told was the usage. And polite monks received 
us, and bade us wait first in one reception-room, then 
in another, whilst higher and higher dignitaries were 
brought to parley with us. F'inally we were conducted 


Intimate China ^«- 

through a long outlying wing, the strangers' quarter, 
and led through one or two bedrooms, all full of 
beds, carefully curtained, and each bed with rolls of 
most comfortable-looking wadded quilts, evidently quite 
new and fresh, from the brightness of their scarlet 
colour — a gift from some recent wealthy guest, we 
were informed. The floors were clean ; everything was 
in order — no dust anywhere ; and the attendants at once 
swift and quiet in making all those last final arrange- 
ments, that must be deferred till the arrival of guests. 
But best of all was the view from the window — the 
peaceful sunset framed in a setting of trees, the 
chastened lights and shadows, with the fresh country 
air coming in so clean and pure through the open 
window. But one must have lived in a Chinese city 
to appreciate that as we did. The priests came to 
and fro to inquire if we were content. Only after 
some time did they signify that by their rules I must 
not share that room with the wide-open window and 
the peaceful outlook, but retire to the women's quarter, 
all along the long corridor again, down an outside 
staircase, along the corridor below, then through a 
great door with many bolts Into one bedroom leading 
on Into another, both full of beds, but otherwise un- 
tenanted, and as clean as the rooms above, only without 
a view, and with the dank smell of the earth outside, 
instead of the fresh country air. Presently we were 
asked to take tea with the priests — tea and many sweets. 
A few priests were told off each day to prepare 
special food for the guests — generally, of course, pious 


^. Buddhist Matins 

pilgrims, come to pray. There were over fifty priests 
in all, and we saw the orders for the day hung up on 
the wall, as if for a regiment. We also saw all the 
others sitting at their severely simple meal, never 
occupying opposite sides of the same table, but always 
the same side of several tables ; and in the midst to 
the back on a raised seat the chief priest, not eating 
with the others — he always ate apart — but sitting 
there whilst they ate. 

In the early dawning we had been each day 
wakened by the call to prayers and the solemn chant- 
ing. One day I sprang out of bed, and followed the 
sound, which seemed to come from farther down the 
corridor beyond my room, out of a side temple. Only 
a few had assembled already, but priests continued 
to come in till the chapel was full. None but a 
few of the priest-boys paid any heed to my unac- 
customed presence, excepting the chief priest, when 
he came in. He was an old man of over seventy, and 
had now sat by at our evening meal more than once, 
and talked with us — a great mark of cond<iscension, we 
were told, only shown to honoured guests. Presently 
he came forward with a kindly smile, and, taking me 
by the two shoulders, very kindly but firmly pressed 
me into the place he desired me to occupy. And the 
next minute 1 saw the reason of this. For, still chanting, 
the monks began to procession round and round the 
chapel, and in and out among the seats, forming the 
most curious figures, and ever quicker and quicker, ever 
with bowed heads, and fingers and palms pressed close 


Intimate China ^ 

together. The wild, simple chant rose and waned as 
they processioned, close on fifty Chinese Buddhist priests, 
moving as fast as ordinary people when they dance 
the Caledonians, all chanting and not looking up. At 
last I felt as if I could bear no more. It may have 
been the early hour, the strange chant, the quick moving 
to and fro. Anyhow, I tried to go to my husband's 
room, and fell insensible on the stone passage just as 
I reached the top of his staircase. I recovered con- 
sciousness in an agony as to what Buddhist priests 
might think suitable treatment for a fainting lady, if 
they any of them found me there ; and that gave me 
strength to drag myself along to my husband's room. 
They were chanting still, the sweet, wild music of the 
chant softened by distance now, or I might have 
thought it was all a dream, as I looked out upon the 
gentle hills and sky framed in their setting of trees, 
and breathed the fresh country air again. 

They were very strict in that monastery ; they would 
not hear of our cooking anything for ourselves in our 
own room, beyond boiling water for tea ; but their 
vegetarian diet quite satisfied all our wants. There 
was some sort of chanting all day in the principal 
temple — a droning kind of chanting, from certain priests 
told off for the purpose. We often looked in ; for, 
uncommon enough, the central image was beautiful, 
with a certain grave serenity. It was very ancient, 
they told us. And we believed this. For the images 
of to-day are made for money, and lack the air ot 
sanctity. This image recalled Byzantine pictures in 


Images of Indian Type 

Russian churches 
— very set, very 
firm, yet withal so 
kind, and above 
all so holy. 

But the really 
ancient temple 
was under the 
cliff, from which 
the whole place 
is named, with the 
water from that 
cliff dripping over 
it, and making 
the steps by which 
one ascends so 
slippery one had 
to walk warily. 
There the images 
were of the true 
Indian type, with 
supple, graceful 
figures, erect car- 
riage, sloping 
shoulders, and 
small waists, all as 
unlike the Chinese 
figure as possible. 
But perhaps the 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 


Intimate China ^ 

figure of Puhsien diftered from the Chinese type 
as much as anything by the seraphic smile, that seemed 
to illumine even the dark cavern in which it was shrined. 
Afterwards we saw Indian divinities, with low-necked 
dresses and bare arms, an abomination in China, carved 
on a headland of the Ya, by their Indian type showing 
their great antiquity. Close by was the place where the 
priests, when dead, are cremated. It seemed to have 
been recently rebuilt. We also visited the chief priest's 
grave, solemn by reason of its surrounding trees rather 
than from its architectural adornments. But the most 
striking feature of the whole place was its exquisite 
cleanliness and propriety, and the perfect order in 
all the land around, that belonged to the monastery, 
and that might have been a model farm, so carefully 
was it weeded and watered and tended. The chief 
priest, as far as we could ascertain, was elected for 
three years only, and our chief priest's time was nearly 
drawing to an end ; but before it did so he would 
have the yearly ordination. 

The monastery was exquisitely situated, partly on 
a little knoll, partly on the more sloping side of the 
hill. It and its outbuildings must have covered about 
six or seven acres. And the sound of worship seemed 
never silent there. But it was when we considered 
how great must be the force religion brought to bear, 
before out of such a slatternly, untidy, filth-loving 
race as the Chinese it produced this spotless, orderly, 
exemplary establishment, that we were perhaps most 
impressed. And as we sat within those peaceful 


^ Buddhist Bells. 

precincts, listening to the rich, deep sounds of Buddhist 
bells, so far more musical than those of Europe, with the 
hum of chanting penetrating to us, softened by distance, 
and realised that this ancient worship dated from ages, 
ago, having been only reformed by Gautama — that 
prince who gave up his father's throne, and the love 
of father, wife, and child, to spend and be spent for 
the people — it was impossible for us to believe that for 
all those centuries God had left these people, trying 
after it, without a way to approach Him, or that this, 
long-continued worship could be altogether unpleasing 
to the Most High. 

" The old faiths, grown more wide, 
Purer, and glorified, 
Are still our lifelong guide." 




Crowd. — Nuns. — Final Shaving. — Woven Paces. — 
Burning Heads. — Relationships. — A Living Picture. 

I HAVE attended an ordination in St. John 
Lateran's at Rome, of which my principal recollec- 
tion is how the Italian young men wriggled as they 
all lay flat upon the marble floor whilst something was 
sung over them. Was it a Te Deum ? It certainly 
was very long. The whole service, indeed, seemed 
very long drawn out. I have also a remembrance of 
nearly fainting from weariness at an ordination in 
Exeter Cathedral ; and can still recall the thrill of 
awestruck admiration with which I regarded the reader 
of the gospel on that occasion, who, as I understood, 
had passed first, and who yet was overcome by 
emotion, so far was he from esteeming himself worthy 
of this honour, in thinking of the work that lay 
before him. Certainly, long though the proceedings 
were — and they must have been very long if they 
seemed so to me, for in those days I was an enthusiast 
about cathedral services — yet never for a second did 
reverence of the highest quality cease to brood over 
all the scene. Thus, when invited by the abbot 

A Barbarous Burning Rite 

himself to assist at an ordination in one of the strictest 

of Chinese monasteries, there was some element of 

wonder mixed with the fortitude with which I prepared 

for a barbarous burning 

rite, and soupe rnaigre 

to see it on. Nor was 

that flask of whisky 

forgotten that is such a 

support to the traveller, 

remaining always full 

under all emergencies 

because never wanted. 
It was not in this case. 
But as the only Euro- 
pean, whose account of 
such a ceremony I had 
heard, reported two or 
three monks carried aw^ay 
fainting, and a general 
odour of burning flesh, 
I thought it might be. 

The large beautifully situated monastery was already 
full when I arrived ; and my husband, who had trans- 
mitted the abbot's invitation, and himself had been 
there two days, informed me his was the only bed with 
one man in it. " They sleep head and feet," he said, 
as if this added to the comfort of it. ''I can't think 
where they will put you. They are very, very full ; and 
they are playing cards or smoking opium all the time 
in my room. But they are very polite, — some one is 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

Intimate China ^ 

always * keeping me company.' I cannot read a word." 
Indeed, he wore the dazed air of being too much kept 
company with. At the head of a flight of steps, at 
the entrance to the women's quarter, a dark den with 
two beds was, however, found for me ; and though 
several ladies most obligingly offered to occupy the 
other bed, and " keep me company " all night, I 
retained undisturbed possession of the two, whenever 
the door was barred. When it was not, people " kept 
me company " ^pei) ; ladies, priests, young men friends, 
and young men who were not friends, but might 
become such, all crowded in together with some young 
monks, whose behaviour somewhat surprised me. 

Attending meals of an abundant, yet meagre, descrip- 
tion with the other ladies, and returning the ladies' 
calls, I was again and again surprised by the easy 
behaviour of these young monks, who were apparently 
especially taken by my gloves, and would feel my hand 
gloved and feel my hand ungloved, and generally 
hang around. One seemed very well brought up, and 
began every sentence with " Omito ! " generally finishing 
it in that way too, and accompanying every remark by 
a set little bow. We thought perhaps he was a lad 
— a child — and my husband positively screamed when, 
on being asked his age, he answered twenty-six. " Did 
you ever see a young man of twenty-six with such an 
innocent countenance?" he asked. "Well, I don't 
know," I said evasively, " I suppose it is all right ; but 
I may as well tell you that never in all my life have 
I had my hand squeezed as since I came into this. 


^ Strange Novices 

monastery. They all do it, every one of them ; so I 
suppose it means nothing." I hastened to add, " But 
they are in all the ladies' rooms too." "What! in the 
Chinese ladies' too?" *' Yes ! " I persisted. "Oh, 
well, well ! " We resigned ourselves to the ways of 
the country. It was not till two days later the truth 
dawned upon us that this innocent-faced young man, 
and some others, who were older and could hardly be 
described in that way, were nuns, guests like ourselves, 
and that there were besides sixteen young women going 
to be made nuns, together with the fifty-two young 
men who were going to be made priests. We were 
so glad we found out. 

All the day through there were invitations to tea 
and sugar-plums with the abbot and past abbots (each 
only rules for three years, and then retires into a 
picturesque suite of rooms and garden to himself), and 
all the while again and again sounds of gongs and drums 
and chanting, and peeps at strange novices, young 
people with shaven heads, clad in "Liberty-tinted" 
gowns — dull red, ruddy brown, old gold, cream — kneel- 
ing, or prostrating themselves quite flat, or winding in 
and out with pacings and slow and quick movements. 
On the morning of the day, after many services in the 
night and dawning, there was the final shaving. Then 
each knelt in turn, and had his head felt all over 
the front, and with great care, by a seated priest with 
immovable countenance of the Indian type, and long 
taper, talonlike fingers. If a hair could be felt, back 
to the barber! If quite smooth, little circles were traced 

353 AA , 

Intimate China ^ 

with Indian ink upon the polled pate — this was done 
by the eye, and often one had to be effaced and retraced ; 
then a tiny packet was handed to the kneeling one. 
It was some time after this ceremony the abbot, in 
dull cream, with over-gown of rich red satin, like the 
others, all made of tiny bits sewn together to simulate 
rags and poverty, and passed under the right arm, but 
clasped over the left breast, black-hooded, and bearing 
in lifted hand before his face a golden jui, or sceptre, 
entered the large principal temple, and sat on a chair 
placed upon the altar, a scourge borne behind him, draped 
with red silk, being placed to his left, and what looked 
like a censer to his right. Then four priests, with many 
kneelings and flat prostrations, stood before the altar, 
seven of the novices following in like fashion, and joining 
the long line, seven at either end. Each carried a long 
piece of cloth to spread upon the floor on which to lie 
prostrate ; and as the two lines stood facing each other 
before the altar, the two in the centre raised the kneel- 
ing-cloth to their eyes, and with it solemnly tso-id to 
each other ; then each, turning quickly to the right, 
went through the same ceremony with the man he now 
found himself confronted with ; and so all along the 
line, only the reverence growing less and less, till the 
last man hardly got the cloth up as high as his shoulders, 
for they had to be very quick. The wooden gong 
was being beaten faster and faster. And now the 
priests led off; and each set of nine, keeping to its own 
side of the temple, went through the quickest '' woven 
paces " I have yet seen, curving in and round upon 


'^ Woven Paces 

one another, and round the huge stone monoliths that 
support the vast graceful temple roof, whose erection 
still remains a mystery, so lofty is it and so large its 
span, so ample its unsupported roof-curves. It was 
like the quickest possible folio w-my-leader, so that the 
end of the tail came up always smiling all over, and 
breathlessly trying to get through the figure. Mean- 
while, at the side, towards the back, another dignitary 
sat in state, and two novices knelt, and went flat, and 
came forward, and practised taking incense-sticks from 
the altar with fingers widely spread after a fashion that 
does not look easy and does look mystic. But what 
was the meaning of it, or the dance, no one seemed 
able to say. 

No number of inquiries, not even a direct letter 
and special messenger to the monastery, had been 
able to elicit even the day of the great ceremony, 
much less the hour ; but, since the evening before, we 
had heard of two o'clock, and at two o'clock precisely 
in they came. We ladies were crowding on to the 
few seats in one corner ; the male guests, silken-clad, 
fur-lined, were swelling it about at the sides of the 
temple, the centre of which appeared already quite filled 
up by the priests of the monastery, and other priests 
and men guests, who were all greeting one another, 
going about, standing in groups, and generally wearing 
a pleased, excited appearance. Meanwhile, the popu- 
lace, in serried mass, were looking in through all the 
many half-doors on all sides, the tops of all the doors 
being thrown wide open. There was music. Was 


Intimate China ^ 

it the wooden gong or the drum ? It was quick, near. 
It seemed to throb with the intense excitement per- 
vading the building. And in twenty minutes all was 
over. Every one had come in, the abbot clad as before, 
all the novices in over-gowns clasped over the left 
shoulder — both over- and under-gowns of what we call 
art colours. All had spread out their cloths and knelt 
and prostrated themselves, before a priest took up his 
position standing behind each, and extended both hands 
to hold the novice's head quite steady, fingers wide 
dispread, so as especially to shield the eyes, all of course 
closed. Some adhesive mixture was applied to the 
Indian ink circles ; then a priest, standing in front of 
each novice, took out of the packet previously given him 
nice little cones of charred sandalwood and saltpetre, 
and stuck them on the places indicated ; and some one 
else set them alight ; and there were sixty-eight young 
men and w^omen, all kneeling, with their eyes closed, 
their faces turned up to heaven, and with nine little 
charcoal cones smouldering on each of their bare pates, 
whilst they prayed one and all, as it seemed, with all 
their hearts. For if the heart is pure, you do not suffer, 
is the saying. My husband says he kept his eyes fixed 
on the three nearest him, and never saw them wince, 
or blanch, or utter a sound, or move a muscle. But 
my place was by the nuns, and one moved, so that one 
of the smouldering cones fell off and into her bosom, 
and had to be replaced ; and another did not cry out, 
but roared — roared like a child. Yet such was the din 
made by the excitingly discordant music, that when I 


^ Burning Heads and Countless Prostrations 

stepped but two off I could not hear a sound from her ; 
so there may have been many others crying out also. I 
saw one nun press a cloth again and again to her eyes, 
and take it away apparently soaked by her tears ; but 
her face was steady and upturned, and her expression 
was that of very earnest prayer. Meanwhile, the cones 
smouldered down till they just charred those marks 
with which we are familiar on priests' heads ; then 
they went out, though all that day and on into the 
next several little unburnt lumps were still adhering to 
the poor consecrated heads. 

We went away to tea and sugar-plums, leaving the 
new-made monks and nuns still praying ; and when 
we came out, they had only adjourned to another temple 
to pray. At ten o'clock at night they were calling on 
Sergiafu (Buddha, Sakyamuni, what you will), thirty- 
four standing up quite straight, chanting, whilst the other 
thirty-four were lying prostrate, then going down in 
their turn whilst the others rose up and chanted. This 
they did at the rate of three prostrations and uprisings 
a minute. They are supposed to make ten thousand 
in the twenty days. It seemed to make me drowsy ; 
so, having twice fallen off asleep whilst they prayed 
and rose and fell, I went to bed, leaving them still at 
it, to be thrice awakened by the gong calling to fresh 
prayers, and, when I arose the following morning, to 
find the whole set processioning from one dead abbot's 
grave to the other, praying at each. One of our Chinese 
gentleman friends we left in the temple at night. At 
eleven o'clock he was turning in. Then some one 


Intimate China ^ 

proposed ten more rounds of cards, and they played 
till daybreak. It was only the week before we had 
been invited to the funeral feast of his grandmother, 
when, with the coffin in the guest-room, a light under- 
neath it, the ladies of the family played cards all night 
in a bedroom opening out of the guest-room, though 
their eyes were dilated either from tears or want of 
sleep, their heads bound with white mourning-cloths of 
the same coarse texture as those worn by the peasant. 
Was it not something like this at one time in our own 
country at a funeral feast ? 

Whilst in this monastery, we discovered another 
mistake we had fallen into. We had long known this 
friend as the honourable member of a certain mandarin 
family, and often mused over the condition of affairs 
it revealed, — that we knew, as we thought, six young 
men of much the same age, all sons of one father, but 
of different mothers. We had known them for years, 
and had photographed the different mothers with their 
sons, had assisted at their weddings and their funerals, 
dined with them, and been dined by them, and often 
speculated as to the character of the dead father and 
the previous social status of his various wives. Now 
Squire No. 4 proposed to take us to a breakfast party 
at the country seat of Squire No. 2 in that neighbour- 
hood, on which a stiff cross-questioning arose ; and at 
last we discovered that the numbers indicated daughters 
as well as sons, and amongst what we believed to be 
brothers were three sets of cousins. '' But we make 
no distinction," said our friend suavely. "And you 


Cousins or Brothers? 

make no distinction be- 
tween elder brother and 
younger ? Strange, we 
do." So it goes on. 
Years in China only 
serve to show one one's 

'' Pray come back, and 
bring any of your friends 
who would like to spend 
a happy time here," were 
the parting words of the 
priests ; whilst the nuns 
assured us there was 
going to be a much 
grander ceremony on the 
morrow, if only we would 
stay for it, and we must 
and should. But we had 
gone through our pur- 
gatory of intervening day 
and night with a certain 
object, which happily we 
had gained, and could 
endure no more. The 
lady guests had been very kind to us. They assured 
me they were strict vegetarians at home as well as 
there, and were certainly devout and greatly interested 
in the nuns, some coming forward to hold their heads 
during the ordination ceremony. Two at least, how- 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

Intimate China ^ . 

ever, appeared to be regular opium-smokers — they said 
on account of illness. But it was impossible to detect 
that they were in the least ashamed of smoking opium, 
or that any one else, nun or priest or any one, 
thought they had any reason to be. Yet this was a 
very strict monastery, where neither wine nor flesh 
meat was allowed. We noticed, moreover, that the 
abbey lands were bright with healthy-looking opium 

One further memory I have carried away. The 
temple treasures were all set out for show on tables in 
the men's guests' dining-hall, which looked out on to a 
tiny shut-in garden, the walls of which were brightened 
by tufts of Chinese primroses in full fragrant flower. 
Gowns of many rich soft tints were hanging on racks 
at one end, and the sun was streaming in upon em- 
broideries and satin vestments they were showing me, 
when a dignitary, again of Indian type — long face, 
very sad dreamy eyes, and high narrow forehead — came 
in and arrayed himself in a gown of the most brilliant 
orange silk ; then, black-hooded, paused by a table, 
and, bending slightly, referred to a large volume 
lying upon It. The pose, the colouring, and the 
lighting made one of those perfect little pictures 
that one treasures in memory for years ; and now, 
when people denounce Buddhism to me, my mental 
eye sees once more that living picture in vivid 
orange and sunset-lit shadows, to which not the most 
consummate artist could have added one touch without 


>^ A Trick of Colour 

" How strange are the freaks of memory ! 
The lessons of hfe we forget, 
While a trifle, a trick of colour, 
In the wonderful web is set." 

There may be many lessons to be learnt from a 
Buddhist ordination ; many deep meanings are doubtless 
signified by its ritual : I only attempt here to recall the 




Luncheon with a Chief Priest. — Tigers. — Mysterious 
Lights. — The View of a Lifetime. — Pilgrims. — Glory 
of Buddha. — Unburied Priests. 

IT was very hot in Chungking in 1892 — too hot, we 
feared, for us to bear, worn out as we were by the 
emotions and excessive heat of the river journey, entered 
upon too late in the summer. So, while we yet could, 
we secured four bearer sedan-chairs, with blue cotton 
awnings six yards long, after the fashion of this windless 
province, and, with bath-towels to bind round our heads, 
and sun-hats, and dark glasses, and all that following 
necessary for a land journey of between twenty and 
thirty men, were carried for a fortnight through a rich 
agricultural district, a region of salt wells and petroleum 
springs, on through the white-wax country to the foot 
of sacred Omi. A letter written at the time to a cousin, 
with whom I had two years before driven through our 
own lovely Lake country, and who I knew^ shared 
my delight in strange surroundings and the unex- 
pected, will best reproduce the exhilaration consequent 
on emerging from the green luxuriance of semi-tropical 
vegetation with its steamy hothouse air. It was 


-»i Lunching with a High-priest 

written from our first resting-place upon the romantic 

"Wan Nien Sze, July 26th, 1892. 

" With whom do you think we have been lunching 
to-day ? I have had tea with gold-miners in Alaska, 
and luncheon in a lumber camp in British Columbia, 
and dinner with a party of Chinese merchants in Chung- 
king ; but to-day, of all people in the world, it was 
with the chief priest of a Buddhist monastery on the 
sacred mountain of Omi ! And very good the luncheon 
was ! I really felt fed — alw^ays a matter of question 
when one is living upon tinned things. He did not 
sit down with us ; but he entertained us by his conversa- 
tion, and we had our own tablecloth and forks and 
spoons, and our own servant to wait upon us. The 
room was all set out with red cloths beautifully 
embroidered in pale blue, hanging on the front of the 
side-table, over the backs of the chairs, and down 
from the seats, on which were cool summer cushions. 
There were twelve courses besides the rice ; and quite 
a number ot monks and pilgrims assembled to see 
us eat. Our room opened into the temple, where 
Puhsien (gigantic) sat upon the altar on a sort of leopard. 
I believe some people say Puhsien was the son of 
Sakyamuni or of Gautama, pronounce them how we 
will. But the high-priest says, ' Omito Fo ! ' (Blessed 
is Fu, or Buddha!) as a greeting, and interlards all his 
talk with it : 'I am so glad you like your dinner, 
Omito!' 'We are very poor; we want two hundred 
thousand tiles to roof the temples, Omito ! ' etc., etc. 


Intimate China ^ 

We found beignets of pumpkin flowers in dough perfectly 
delicious. But our man-servant says, ' Yes, but you 
put in a catty [i^ lb.] of flour, and you get only three 

*' It was a regular charity lunch ; for directly it was 
over the high-priest entered into further details, — 
how the rooms we were lodging in wanted repairing, 
and how everything did (which is quite true), and 
how we could see every one who came to worship 
was very poor, and the last Europeans who lodged 
there gave about ^15, and he thought it would be so 
nice if we gave £2^. And he brought the subscription 
list out, and the brush to write with; and positively 
would not let our Boy write down £2 \os. — twice as 
large a sum as I thought necessary. Then another 
priest begged too. They begged and begged, till I 
said at last, determined to interrupt them, ' There is a 
Tibetan image in the temple behind I do so want you 
to come and show me.' Then every one burst out 
laughing at such a very palpable attempt to change 
the conversation. However, our modest sum got written 
down, and the chief priest nearly wept. He came to 
show us the Tibetan image, and he seemed to find it 
absolutely uninteresting. It holds a little white rabbit 
in one hand, and a rosary with very large beads in the 
other, and looks as conceited as it is possible to look. 
But as he said it was made on the mountain and not 
in Tibet, we did not photograph it and him together. 

" As far as we can make out, this mountain was 
sacred long before Buddhism ; and every day crowds of 


Puhsien and a Lion-dog 

pilgrims come — numbers of Chinese women, with their 

bandaged feet wrapped up in husks of Indian corn to 

make it easier to walk up the steep flights of steps that 

lead up ten thousand feet to the top of the mountain. 

How they manage it, I cannot think. The saying is, ' If 

you are a bad man with sins unrepented, and go up 

the mountain, you die.' Six men are 

said to have thus died this year. 

There is a wonderful bronze Puhsien 

riding on a colossal bronze elephant, 

beautifully made, each of its feet 

standing on a lotus flower. This is 

in a temple just behind ours, with a 

dome, and made of bricks, both very 

unusual in China, and said here never 

to have been built, but to have come 

in a single night. 

'' But I cannot tell you how I wish 

r 11 ^1 1 TACK (LONG-HAIRED 

to get away from all these temples, 'shantung terrier). 
They begin to oppress me so, — all ^^ ^'''- ^^^^'^^^'^ ^'^^^'^ 
the people prostrating themselves, and then offering 
incense before each image in turn (and there are so 
many !), and lighting a candle before each. They arrive 
with great baskets full. And they come out of the 
temple with a rapt expression. And then our white 
long-haired terrier springs out on them, and they 
start so ! We do not know what to do ; because they 
call him a lion-dog (he is the Chinese idea of a lion), 
and seem to regard him as a semi-sacred thing. I do 
not want him to go into the temples at all. And the 


Intimate China ^«- 

thresholds are so high he cannot get over ; but there is 
always some one who will hand him over, and then the 
conceited dog shakes his sides and frisks about among 
the worshippers. This worship has been going on for 
thousands of years ; and yet I do not believe any one 
has an idea about Puhsien ! 

" Then there is Kwanyin over and over again, like 
a Byzantine Virgin and Child, with a very sweet face 
on this mountain, and a child on her knee. And women 
come and pray for children, and carry away little dolls. 
The more I think of it, the less I know what I believe 
about it all. Nara, where they had worshipped for so 
many years in Japan, seemed to be haunted. But this 
mountain does not feel haunted, nor as yet does it feel 
sacred. But so far we are only up three thousand feet, 
with mosquitoes all alive about us, and scissor-grinders 
shrilling their souls out in just, I should think, the 
highest note possible for the human ear to hear, besides 
others more like other scissor-grinders. 

" Then, though this temple seemed clean on first 
arrival by comparison with Chinese Inns, its dirt now 
has a very materialising eftect upon one's suscepti- 
bilities. It is beautifully situated on a spur of the 
mountain, with an amphitheatre of mountain-peaks 
girdling it in except on one side, where it looks 
down on the lesser hills and rivers we came up 
from. There are trees, and, we are assured, tigers, 
a man having been eaten by one ten days ago. But 
as I am also told eight men together were going up 
a peak not far from here, and of the eight five were 



Miraculous Lamps 

killed by tigers, I am 
not quite sure whether 
one can believe every- 
thing one is told on 
Omi-shan. At all 
events, the tiger- 
mosquitoes seem a 
more real danger at 
present. We had six- 
teen nights in Chinese 
inns to get here from 
Chungking, travelling 
always westward ; so 
I cannot think many Europeans will come, till there 
are steamers running to Chungking, and Cook has 
organised through-tickets. But the chief priest thinks 
if he could only do these rooms up many foreigners 
would come, and all give him many taels, and then 
the temples could all be restored." 

By Mr. Upcraft. 

There are many wonders upon this sacred mountain, 
one the so-called Glory of Buddha, which we saw every 
afternoon during the fortnight in August we spent on 
its summit. Another, more puzzling to me, we only 
saw once. We were called out about nine o'clock on 
a keen, frosty night to see the lamps of Kiating, the 
city ten thousand feet below us, that had come up to be 
lighted. Some rich donor has given the lamps of Kia- 
ting particularly high lamp-posts to facilitate this miracle. 
Certainly, on each out-jutting spur of the mountain, as 


Intimate China ^ 

we looked down from the edge of the great precipice, 
we saw a large luminous light apparently quite stationary, 
and in effect recalling the lamps of Piccadilly at night. 
Some people say this must be caused by electricity. 
Certainly, on Mount Omi we always seemed to look 
down upon the storms of thunder and lightning that 
evening after evening cooled the hot country below 
us. But the most beautiful sight was to turn away 
from the grand views as far as the eye could reach over 
the rivers and hills and cities of China, and, standing 
on the verge of the precipice, look just In the other 
direction, across the sea of mountains with serrated edges 
or slanting -backs, two flat-topped table-mountains con- 
spicuous among them, till there at last up in the sky, 
*' as If stood upon a table for us to look at," as some 
Chinaman said centuries ago, stood the long range of 
the snowy giants of Tibet, with great glaciers clinging 
to their sides, and catching the first rosy light of 
morning, whilst all the other intervening mountains 
were still wrapped In their blankets of mist and night. 
Many beautiful descriptions have been written of 
Mount Omi, that mountain that stands alone In Its 
sacredness in the far west of China, with an all-round 
view from its summit, where the beholder stands on the 
verge of one of the most gigantic precipices In the world, 
said by Mr. Baber to be a mile deep. But It would be 
hard to surpass that of Fan Yu-tsz, of the Ming Dynasty, 
who tells how he saw the Wa-wu, and the snowy moun- 
tains " running athwart like a long city wall," and India, 
and the mountains of Karakorum, together with all the 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

B B 

Grandest View of a Lifetime I 

barbarous kingdoms, the great Min River, and the rivers 
of Kiating, the Tung, and the Ya ; and winds up by- 
saying : ''The advocate and I clapped our palms, and 
cried out, ' The grandest view of a lifetime ! ' " The 
cloud effects from Fujiyama's top are different, but not 
finer ; and Fuji has no snowy mountains of Tibet to 
look out upon. The all-round view from the ever 
popular and most beloved Rigi seems a plaything sort 
of pretty pigmy view by comparison. 

And day after day, year after year, all the year 
round, pilgrims come and prostrate themselves on the 
different out-jutting bastions of the cliff upon boards 
laid in the wet grass for their convenience while they 
venerate Puhsien, who, they say, came up from India 
on his elephant and settled here ; just as their ancestors 
probably came, before ever Buddha was, to venerate 
-the sun-god, as we call him now, we not apparently 
having even yet learnt enough to say simply God, 
as if there were, or could be, God this and God that, 
— not one God, the Father of All — to use the simple 
comprehensive Chinese phrase, "The Above All!" 
The men and women of the province come in great 
numbers : the men with their brows bound with the 
white Szechuan handkerchief like Dante, and with 
mouths like the old Greek gods, with rich, regular 
curves ; the women with their skirts only to their 
knees, and feet of the natural size or only slightly de- 
formed, and in each case bound with Indian corn-husks, 
the better to contend with the steep stone steps that lead 
up and down the ten thousand feet of mountain-side. 


Intimate China ^ 

Men from Yunnan come too, with extraordinarily heavy 
and knotted young trees for walking-sticks, shod, not 
with iron points, but small iron spades, that they may 
if need be re-make the road as they go along. Military 
•dandies even from far NIngpo are carried up the 
mountain In sedan-chairs (this last a work of great 
■difficulty) ; whilst old men and very weak women manage 
to get up In a sort of basket carried on a man's back, 
their feet holding on round his waist after the fashion 
that children are carried pick-a-back. And in the winter 
the Tibetans come, men and women all together, all 
in furs, and saying, " Om Man! Padmi Hum!" Instead 
of the familiar, " Omito Fo," the habitual greeting on 
the mountain-side. Some of the wild tribes also come, 
without pigtails, like decent people, but with their hair 
strangely sticking out In front of their heads, as if they 
wore their tails In front. And all prostrate themselves, 
and do reverence — unless It be the few Europeans 
who have strayed so far west through China — as they 
look over the edge of the great precipice, and there on 
the mist below see the circular halo of three primary 
colours, very brilliant, and In Its central brightness the 
shadow of their own head and shoulders, or, if their 
heart be such, Puhsien himself riding on his elephant, 
as he came from India more than two thousand 
years ago. Where the pilgrims most do congregate 
some pious donor has had strong iron chains fastened 
between iron supports ; and in another place there Is a 
low stone wall : but so great Is the indifference to its 
depth that so lofty a precipice inspires, — we ourselves 


A Mile-deep Precipice 

once resided on a fifth story, and found many of our 
visitors unable to look out, and ourselves suffered some- 
what from dizziness ; but on moving to the eleventh 
floor of the same building felt nothing of the kind,— 
so great is the indifference to its danger that this great 
precipice inspires, that not a day passes but people 
are getting out- 
side the chains, or 
standing on the 
top of the low 
wall, the better to 
see down below. 

And there, as 
we look down 
upon the beautiful 
trees far beneath 
us, and the flowers 
finding here and 
there a foothold, 
we become aware 
of a cave, that 
looks quite inac- 
cessible now, al- 
though it may not always have been so ; and below 
the cave, just a little way farther down the preci- 
pice, something — we cannot quite make out what. 
We saw it from the first, and then turned away to 
look at the city of Kiating, picturesquely situated at 
the junction of its three rivers, or to notice how- 
swollen the rivers are with the recent heavy rains, 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

Intimate China ^ 

or to catch a distant gHmpse of the one Taoist 
monastery on the mountain, perched like an eyrie on 
its most picturesque out-jutting spur, or, as so often, 
to watch the mist roll up. Oftenest it comes flying 
up from the hot lowlands at our feet ; but at times it 
crawls up like a great white bear, lifting first one paw, 
then another, yet always securing its foothold even on 
the sheerest edge of the precipice. At other times it 
comes up like a sinuous serpent ; and sometimes, en- 
folding all the landscape, it flows over the precipice 
from the top like a Niagara of mist. But always as 
the mist lifts, and we lean over the precipice, scanning 
closely, we see that cave, which surely no man could 
ever reach, and, below, something curious lying aslant 
on an edge of the cliff; yet never is our curiosity suffi- 
ciently awakened to lift an opera-glass, and see what 
it may be : it looks so small and insignificant — ^just 
something out of place in the vast landscape, that is all. 

Then we see other caves, and hear wild talk of 
aborigines, who live, or lived, in them. The coolies 
talk of nothing but aborigines and the unconquered 
Lolos. One of them has been two years among 
the latter as a soldier ; and he tells how his general's 
wife was taken prisoner by them, and put upon an 
ox to ride, since she could not walk, and describes 
them as a sort of Highlanders, wearing a skirt and 
a wrap, and not rude at all to those they carry off 
— only wanting to get ransom-money. Then we meet 
a pilgrim, who is standing staring at some caves far 
below with protruding eyes ; and he says, '' There 


^ Foreign Medicines 

are tigers in there ! " then stands speechless. But on 
our laughing we are told again of six men already 
this year eaten by tigers. It is a comfort to laugh even 
over tigers ; for the high, rare air affects the nerves 
even of our coolies, and every one is asking for 
•quinine as a cure for neuralgia. For foreign medicines 
are known in the West, and " They never cost anything," 
as some women with a sick child said w4th great energy, 
and confidence that we must be able to cure the child, 
and for nothing, as missionaries or foreigners (here the 
two words are treated as synonymous) always did. 
Then, as one coolie after another sickened, and we 
ourselves could hardly breathe or bear the aching of 
our heads, we were told a very dangerous air came up 
over the precipice, and how a Taoist priest, who was 
going to live in a cave on the mountain, dropped down 
dead of it. And none of our Chinese would hear of 
a cave being possibly full of gas, or that the air on 
the top of the mountain was so much lighter than that 
below that a little time is needed to get accustomed 
to it. 

And whilst explaining scraps of modern science, we 
forgot all about the Taoist priest who died, till one 
day again we were hanging over the cliff, watching 
for the Glory of Buddha below, when we noted a 
Chinaman gazing down more intently than devoutly. 
'' Do you see him?" he asked. " I could not find him 
this morning ; and I would not believe what they all 
said, that a Taoist priest lay there. But what else can 
it be ? Do you look through your far-seeing glass, and 


Intimate China ^ 

say what you see." So we looked at that something 
out of place, that had at once caught short-sighted eyes 
intently scanning, yet without arresting our attention 
sufficiently even to wonder what It might be. Yes ! 
certainly there lay, across a fallen tree, what looked 
like a man with a hood on, like that the chief priest 
here wore, with an old basket at his feet. " Yes, that's 
It — that's It. All the Taolsts wear that ! With his 
feet In a basket ! That Is how they say he lies. He 
has lain there two years, they say ; and last year his 
clothes looked blue, and now they look whitey-brown. 
Next year, I suppose, they will all fall to pieces. I sup- 
pose It must be a man. I would not believe It at first." 
" No, no ; It Is not a Taolst priest," said the young 
Buddhist, whose duty It was to be agreeable to visitors. 
" It Is just some clothes people have thrown down." 
But, in the first place, no human hand could throw 
clothes so far. They must long before have, fluttering, 
caught upon some rugged edge. Next, nothing thrown 
could so exactly take the semblance of a man, — the hood 
worn just as the chief priest wears his, only the head 
fallen forward somewhat, and the lower part of the 
person In dust-coloured clothes evidently fast approach- 
ing decay, but even yet lingering on just where 
they would be If a man lay there wearing them. The 
idea of clothes thrown down certainly would not hold 
water. The idea of a sort of Guy Fawkes figure did 
at one time present Itself; but whilst it seemed possible 
that some enthusiast might attempt to climb to that 
Inaccessible cave, and so climbing fall and perish, it 


^ Taoist Priest's Sepulchre 

'did not seem possible that any one would be foolhardy 
enough to climb there for the purpose merely of placing 
a lay figure there, or could do so, carrying a lay figure. 
Yet, not wishing to be too credulous, we approached 
the chief priest the next time his picturesque figure 
(in grey silk gown and black hood appeared beside 
•the parapet, and propounded the theory of clothes. 
His dark eyes grew luminous with a sad smile ; his 
Is a face In which a painter would delight, with Its 
rich dark shades, well-marked features, and general 
air of an Oriental saint of the early Christian era. 
•''Those are no clothes," he said, sadly smiling. ''A 
Taoist priest lies there." 

And could there be a grander grave for a dead man, 
— the great white mists of OmI his winding-sheet, the 
Glory of Buddha floating above him his memorial cross, 
the bosom of Oml's Inaccessible precipice his last resting- 
place ? Year by year, day by day, pilgrims kneel, and 
knock their foreheads on the ground, then hold out 
hands of supplication over his prostrate form ; the bells 
are struck, the prayers are chanted, the incense burns, 
above the unburled priest's last resting-place. Never 
now will hand of man touch him more. He lies secure. 
He sought to pass away from the contamination of 
the world, and In pure ecstasy of devotion pass his 
days In an untrodden cave. And It seems that God — 
our God, his God, the Lord and Father of us all — 
accepted the offering without requiring the year-long 
dally sacrifice. There are no signs of struggle In the 
orderly disposed garments. It seems as If his spirit 


Intimate China ^ 

passed away as hrs foot stumbled, and he fell across 
the fallen tree. 

And to make it grander still, he has won no 
immortal name thereby. The young priest in the 
temple on the summit says, " That is no unburied 
saint lies there — only, clothes ! " He takes us to 
a neighbouring shrine of his own faith to see a 
real unburied saint. As we ascended the mountain, 
we were struck by an image upon an altar from its 
likeness to a man in its little human imperfections, all 
covered with gilding though it was, as well as decked 
out in somewhat tawdry bright embroidered satins. 
We only noticed, and passed on, repelled by a large 
and really rather offensively ugly representation of 
Puhsien standing behind it. The front figure was 
seated on a large lotus flower, with its legs tucked up 
underneath it, just as the chief priest at our temple 
tucked up his legs when he sat to have his photograph 
taken, putting on his best vestments for the purpose, 
and looking no longer like an early Christian, without 
his hood, and with his bald shining head. "There!, 
that was a priest here in the time of Kang Hsi," said 
the young priest. " kt is his very body, not embalmed. 

It would not decay, and so he was " Now, did he 

say cano7used? " Few foreigners know of this " 

Now, did he say God or saint ? So much turns 
upon a word sometimes, and so few foreigners know 
Chinese well enough to be clear about these delicate 

A set of dandies in rich-coloured silks from Kiating,. 


Gilded Buddhist Priest 

with yellow Incense-bags and double purses, invaded 
the temple, not for the purpose of staring, as we were 
doing, but to worship. They prostrated themselves, 
burnt their joss-sticks, and struck the gong before the 
gilded old man upon the altar just in the same way 
that they did before the other images. And they looked 
so picturesque doing this, it seemed a pity to wait to 
set up the camera till they had gone, and then only to 
photograph the gilded old man upon the altar and the 
priest of seventy-one of to-day who ministers before 
it. The living old man was quite excited by the 
proceeding, and completely unaware that photography 
demanded the posture, generally most congenial to a 
Chinaman, of repose. 

Even through all his gilding, the face of the other 
old man upon the altar gave an idea of holiness, and 
this in spite of his having as typically slanting eyes 
as any Chinaman living. Some of his teeth were gone, 
and his mouth had a little helpless sort of crookedness 
about it that was very touching. It seemed impossible 
then and there to hear anything of his history ; but it 
seemed equally impossible, looking at him, to doubt that 
he had been a good man, a Vicar of Wakefield simple 
sort of good man, and probably deserved as well to 
have his body set upon an altar and worshipped as any 
mere man might. But the place of sepulture of the 
unburied Taoist priest strikes the imagination as far 
finer, recalling the grand lines upon the burial of Moses. 
Angels bore Moses to his sepulchre, we are told. No 
one has borne the Taoist priest. Even the winds 


Intimate China ^ 

of heaven cannot touch him, as he lies sheltered by 
the great precipice on which he perished. 

"Stars silent rest o'er him, 
Graves under him silent. 

Here eyes do regard him 
In eternity's stillness." 

Thus, at but a little distance from each other, on the 
summit of the sacred mountain of Omi, in this land, 
where more importance is attached to burial than in 
any other, two Chinamen await unburied the consumma- 
tion of all things, — the one a disciple of Buddha ; the 
other, of that even less known Laotze, Buddha's 
Chinese contemporary : the one covered over with gild- 
ing, raised upon an altar, and certainly apparently 
worshipped as a god ; the other lying prone upon the 
mountain-side, his poor perishable garments growing 
threadbare in the snow and rain. But when the mists 
gather round the mountain-top, and the sun shines 
slanting from the west, it is above the ardent disciple 
of Laotze that the Glory of Buddha floats — the man 
who sought the grimmest possible retreat from the 
snares of this world, and, thus seeking, found, we trust,, 
the joys of Paradise. 




In ^lemory of a Dead Wife. — Of a Dear Friend. — 
Farewell Verses. — ^^sthetic Feeling. — Drinking 
Song. — Music. — Justice to Rats. 

IT is so much our habit in China to think the Chinese 
have no sentiment, that I have thought it might be 
interesting to gather together what indications I have 
observed during eleven years' residence among them, 
leaving the reader, if of a judicial frame of mind, to sum 
up and formulate his own conclusions. 

One of the most poetic events in history used to 
seem to me in childhood that crowning of his dead 
Queen by King Pedro, to which Mrs. Hemans conse- 
crated some of her most pathetic verses. To this day 
I cannot think of the beautiful dead Inez de Castro in 
all the grandeur of her coronation robes, seated upon her 
throne, without feeling something of the faint, cold 
shuddering which the poetess imagines. Yet when I 
went for the first time to a grand Chinese house in 
the Arsenal at Shanghai, and found it all dressed out 
with signs of mourning, white cloths, and balls of 
twisted white cotton, people all in their best dresses, 


Intimate China 


and preparations 
complete for three 
days of theatrical 
performance, though 
I was startled to find 
that all this was to 
commemorate the 
birthday of the wife 
of the master of the 
house, lying quiet in 
her grave already 
these twenty years, 
the twenty-years-in- 
China-and -not-kno w - 
a - word - of- the -lan- 
guage men all said 
it was quite usual, 
and seemed surprised 
and annoyed that I 
should find it affect- 
ing. Alas ! to this 
day I have never 
learned whether he 
loved her very much, 
nor quite satisfied 
myself whether it 
was really her birth- 
day or the day of her 
death they were thus 
celebrating. But, in- 

^ A Chinese Poem to a Friend 

terpret it all after whatever fashion, there was surely 
in this some indication of sentiment. 

Again, there are many suicides in China, and habit 
seems to make both Europeans and Chinese callous. 
Yet when a German who had returned to China happy 
in the belief a girl he knew would follow and marry 
him, and on hearing she had changed her mind, or for 
some other reason would not come, thought it better 
to leave a life that for him held no promise, the 
following poem appeared in a Shanghai paper : 

5n memory ot tbe late — . 

' Es lebe, 

wer sich tapfer halt ! ' 

— Goethe's ' Faust. ' 

The wild prunes blossom, red and white, 

In wintry air.^ 
Heavy with orange, in sunlight. 

The groves are fair. 

The pearl-like river, silent, sure, 

Glides to the sea : 
A spirit, mutinous but pure. 

Sets itself free. 

Love, flowers, and music erst were thine ; 

But love, to thee 
A blight, was bitter as the brine 

Of the salt sea. 

' The imagery is taken from a line in Chinese poetry — 

+ i5 ^ r^ 1 _h » 

" In November the wild prunes first blossom on the mountain-pass" 

— as the death of Mr. took place in that month. 

385 CO 

Intimate China 

From these thy noble spirit yearned 

Towards nobler schemes ; 
Dreams of a nobler age returned, 

Alas ! but dreams. 

Last on the river-girdled spot — 

Thy spacious home, 
Spacious but lone, for one was not 

That should have come — 

We sat and talked of modern creed 

And ancient lore ; 
Of modern gospel — gush and greed. 

Now to the fore. 

Thy fervent hope it was to join 

The best with best ; 
To break down the dividing-line 

Of East and West. 

O friend ! albeit of alien race, 

For evermore 
Shall be with me thy noble face, 

Too sicklied o'er 

With a world-sorrow e'en too great 

For thy great heart. 
Since from us, who still serve and wait. 

Thou wouldst depart. 

Farewell ! The swift-wheeled ship will bring 

To thy far West 
The tidings, while I, grieving, sing 
Thee to thy rest. 

Ku Hung Ming. 
Viceroy's Yamen, 

Wuchang, December ^th, 1893." 

The Englishman who could write as good a poem 
in Chinese has not yet been born ; but I quote it 
because of the sentiment it expresses. 


-^ A Poem of Adieu 

The young Chinese to whom I tried to teach 
English took leave of -me, when I left for England, 
in very elegant Chinese verse, to which I wish 
I could do justice by translation. The senti- 
ment of it was very appropriate. He regretted 
my departure, wondering what he should do 
without me ; for to him I had been like 
the snow, which, by covering up and pro- 
tecting the plants, makes the young shoots 
grow, as I had made his intelligence 
:, burgeon. This struck me as a very 

I happy expression of sentiment, and, as 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

I was assured by Chinese scholars, equally felicitously 

The Chinese love of beautiful curves, spending time 
and money on the roof-cornices and outside ornaments 
of even quite a poor cottage, indicates a deep-seated 
sentiment for the beautiful, as do also the trees in their 
towns, some of which have almost as many trees as 


Intimate China ^ 

houses, as also their love of flowers. In the flowering 
season a bough of blossom may be seen in a vase on 
the counter of even the darkest little shop ; whilst no 
literary man would think his writing-table complete 
without a vase for one lovely blossom, and no woman 
would think herself dressed until she had stuck a flower 
on one side of her glossy hair. But every one probably 
would acknowledge that the Chinese have a very strong 
aesthetic sentiment. Here, however, is an adieu to the 
Old Year much resembling one of Burns' songs in 
its sentiment, or want of it : 


The voice of the cricket is heard in the hall; 
The leaves of the forest are withered and sere ; 
My spirits they droop at those chirruping notes 
So thoughtlessly sounding the knell of the year. 

Yet why should we sigh at the change of a date, 
When life's flowing on in a full steady tide ? 
Come, let us be merry with those that we love ; 
For pleasure in measure there's no one to chide." 

Translated by W. A. F. M. 

But this Chinese drinking-song, which could without 
exciting any special comment appear upon a New 
Year's card of to-day, was published in the Chinese 
Book of Odes 500 b.c. Twelve centuries later we 
find a decidedly prettier sentiment and finer touch in 
Li-tao-po, one of China's favourite poets a.d. 720. It 
is interesting to notice that four of China's poets, Tze- 
ma-hsiang-yu, Yang-hsiung, Li-tao-po, and Su-tung-po, 
were all born and spent their earliest years in Szechuan„ 


^ Fanciful Drinking-song 

on the borderland of Tibet, and the yet unconquered 
Lolo country, Hke our own EngHsh Border country, 
China's cradle of legend and song. 

This is an attempt to render the best-known ode of 
China's favourite bard, a.d. 720 : 


Here are flowers, and here is wine ; 
But Where's a friend with me to join 
Hand to hand and heart to heart 
In one full cup before we part? 

Rather than to drink alone, 
I'll make bold to ask the moon 
To condescend to lend her face 
To grace the hour and the place. 

Lo I she answers, and she brings 
My shadow on her silver wings ; 
That makes three, and we shall be, 
I ween, a merry company. 

The modest moon declines the cup, 
But shadow promptly takes it up ; 
And when I dance, my shadow fleet 
Keeps measure with my flying feet. 

Yet though the moon declines to tipple, 
She dances in yon shining ripple ; 
And when I sing, my festive song 
The echoes of the moon prolong. 

Say, when shall we next meet together? 
Surely not in cloudy weather ; 
For you, my boon companions dear, 
Come only when the sky is clear." 

Translated by W. A. P. M. 

The fancy if not the sentiment of this song is so 
pretty, that it is hard to see how the nation that 


Intimate China ^ 

produced it can be rebuked for want of sentiment by the 
nation that to this day sings, " Drink, puppies, drink." 
Indeed, I think this Chinese drinking-song dating 
from the eighth century a.d. the very prettiest I have 
ever met with in any Hterature. It has three if not 
four of such graceful conceits as would alone make the 
success of a modern bard. But they are old, very old. 
And China, too, is old ; and is said to produce nothing 
of the kind now. 

To turn to comparatively more modern days, Lu- 
pe-Yas Lute, Englished and reduced into poetry by 
Mrs. Augusta Webster, shows a sentiment for friendship 
and for music deep in the Chinese breast. It is, I 
suppose, because I am so very unmusical that I rather 
enjoy Chinese music. It seems to me very merry, 
especially its funereal chants. 

People often wonder if the Chinese enjoy European 
music. Two Englishmen were invited not long ago 
to a military mandarin's house to hear one of his sons, 
a great musician, play. The latter could only perform 
if perfect silence were observed by the audience and 
a vase of flowers and lighted incense before him to 
help his inspiration. Unfortunately, after all these 
preparations, it appeared his was a stringed instru- 
ment, to be laid upon the table and played with the 
nails — the most difficult instrument to play upon that 
the Chinese possess ; and the melody, if it were a 
melody, was so low, the Englishmen came away quite 
unable to judge of its beauty. " Heard melodies are 

sweet, but those unheard " However, some other 


-»i Advantages of Opium-smoking 

young military mandarins had played a duet on flutes, 
and another performed on a flageolet, both very 

It may interest those interested — and who of us 
in China are not ? — in the great opium question to 
hear that a young lad of sixteen went away from the 
dinner-table to smoke opium. ''How dreadful!" said 
one of the Europeans. "A lad of sixteen to smoke 
opium! He will never live!" "Why, look at my five 
sons, all born since I smoked," said the host ; " I began 
when I was twenty. But, indeed, his family are rather 
glad he smokes. You see, my guest is a very rich young 
fellow from up the river, who has no father ; and if he 
did not smoke opium, he would be sure to be getting 
into mischief with women or gambling. Now, smoking 
opium, they think, will keep him at home." Is not this 
rather a novel view of the question ? 

The old legend of the Fairy Foxes, which I 
Englished some years ago, and brought out in 
Mr. Hasegawa's very pretty crepe paper series, shows 
a sentiment of kindness for animals with which some 
people are unwilling to credit a nation that emphatically 
does not say, "What a beautiful day! Let us go 
out and kill something." Both that and The Rafs 
Plaint, translated from the original Chinese and 
rendered Into verse by my husband, and very beautifully 
illustrated as well as reproduced on C7^epe paper by 
Mr. Hasegawa, might be circulated by the Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Anim.als. The latter's 
quaintness — It Is a very old Chinese legend — alone 


Intimate China ^ 

makes the reader pass over the very nice sentiment 
for poor pussy, as well as the homely Chinese sense 
of justice, stating the rat's case in the first instance- 
so very plainly as almost to make the reader incline 
to his side. 

There is an easy-going live-and-let-live character 
about the Chinese, which makes them very pleasant 
employers, as all steamship captains will testify, and 
which, perhaps, accounts for their not hurrying ofT 
the face of the earth the rats that are such a great 
pest in a Chinese city. An English Consul, on undoing^ 
a not yet used camera, found that to get at the gum' 
used they had eaten through each fold of its dark 
chamber. One year in Chungking they made a hole 
through a strong wooden case we thought safely closed 
down, opened the tins of milk just as we should have- 
done ourselves, and evidently dipped their tails in,, 
and fished out all the milk those tails could reach. 
We have often thought this worthy to be a Spectato7^ 
story. But, however incredible it may sound, it is true ;; 
and when we opened the case, we found all the top 
layer out of two dozen tins of milk opened and half 
emptied in this way. Worse still, that same year — 
there was famine in the land, and human beings were 
dropping down dead of hunger every day by the 
river-side — there was a hole one morning in our 
dear little pony's back, said to be caused by the 
wicked rats. 

The Chinese easy-going liberal disposition and 
sense of justice have been immortalised in The Rat's 


^ "The Rat's Plaint'^ 

Plaint, translated by my husband, where the poor rat's 
case is made out as 1 never saw it till I read it there ; 
though in the end the rat is awarded punishment, and 
pussy-cat installed in her high place as favoured friend 
in every homestead. And so herewith an end of 
Chinese sentiment. 





Drying Prayerbooks Mountain. — Boys' Paradise. — 
Lolo Women. — Salt-carriers. — Great Rains. — • 
Brick-tea Carriers. — Suspension Bridge. — Granite 
Mountains. — Tibetan Bridge. — Lamas. — Tibetan 
Women. — Caravanserai at Tachienlu. — Beautiful 
Young Men. — Lamaserai. — .Prayers ? — Fierce Dogs. 
— Dress. — Trying for a Boat. 

THERE are many summer trips that are a joy 
in the remembering, but a trip to Chinese Tibet 
had never fallen to the lot of any European woman 
before. And it was the more delightful, perhaps, because 
we never thought of anything of the kind when we 
started. But there is a drawback to living on a moun- 
tain-summit that it is such a climb to come back again 
when you go out ; and our quarters on Mount Omi were 
not too comfortable ! Only one small room for living 
and sleeping in, like a back room in a Canadian log- 
hut, and without a window to open, makes one restless 
after a time. So we thought we would gently stroll 
on to another sacred mountain, whose flat top was a 
very striking feature in the landscape. And we went 

^ Reproduced from the Coi'nhill Magazitie by the kind permission of the 

^ Drying Prayerbooks Mountain 

down into what is called the Wilderness, where there 
are wild cattle and wild men, and for about a week 
wandered on, passing along by the boundary of the 
unconquered Lolos, and up the most magnificent ravine 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

I have seen or can imagine, down which a torrent 
had swept but a week before from the Sai King, or 
Drying Prayerbooks Mountain, to which we were bound, 
drowning twenty-six people in one hamlet alone. 

Climbing the Sai King was rather a formidable affair. 
But for the guidance of a young priest, returning from 


Intimate China ^ 

one of those begging excursions by means of which 
he had bought the whole mountain-summit, we never 
should have reached the top before darkness set in ; 
and in the dark no man would dare to move upon 
the Sai King. For not only are there all manner of 
wild beasts, but the path leads along the narrow edge 
of a coL and then up staircases, till at last you arrive 
at three ladders, one of twenty-seven rungs, before 
you find yourself at the top of the awful precipices 
that girdle it all round, in a sort of park with firs and 
rhododendrons, the latter at least twenty feet high, moss 
hanging from them in garlands, as well as a foot deep 
upon the ground. It Is a veritable boys' paradise (and 
as such I have described it at length in the Nineteenth 
Century of January, 1896), with squirrels and deer and 
birds innumerable, large very sweet white strawberries 
in the greatest profusion, raspberries abundant, currants 
plentiful, mushrooms in bushels. There are glorious 
views from the brink of precipices, when you can break 
your way through the rhododendrons and look over, 
hearing the rivers murmuring some five or six thousand 
feet below, and seeing the Tibetan summits like a sea 
of mountains. 

But I have mentioned nearly all there was to eat 
on the Sai King Shan, and our room was almost more 
cracks than room, so that we shivered inside it even 
when almost blinded by wood smoke. And when the 
wind howled and the rain poured in like a waterspout, 
it did occur to us to wonder what we should do if 
one of the ladders were carried away. Besides, by dint 


^ To purify their Souls 

of thinking about it, the . going down those ladders 
became increasingly terrible. I had paused in the 
middle of coming up, and, looking between my feet, 
had seen the mists moving and the cataract falling four 
thousand feet sheer below me, and through a rift In 
the clouds had caught a sight of the great precipice 
to the n(5rth, greater even than that on Omi. We 
found ourselves wondering whether it would be wise 
to look down and gaze on everything. If clear, when 
descending. When we had got as far as that, It seemed 
more prudent to go down at once. And It was then 
we saw from the bottom the great north precipice, 
that is the most glorious east end of a world's cathedral. 
Looked at from where one will, one could not but feel In 
comparison how poor was a temple made with hands. 
Yet .there in the valley six thousand feet below was the 
chapel and priests' house, built by their own hands 
with their own money by the people of the wholly 
Christian village of Tatlentze, And here, close 
to the summit of the mountain, where a cord used 
to hang over the precipice to get down by, was the 
cave where two Buddhist sisters, till last year, lived 
seven years "to purify their souls." There was a 
little platform In front of the cave where they could 
stand and look out upon the glories of the Creator's 
handiwork, If so minded. Did they stand there, those 
two sisters ? Did they worship there ? Did they In 
the end purify their souls ? Or did they find It was a 
mistake, thus retiring from their kind ? Their father 
used to send them rice, which was let down to them 


Intimate China <*- 

by the cord, and a stream poured over the precipice 
in a sort of waterfall hard by. And they only went 
away the year before because the tidings had come of 
their mother's death. 

Again we wandered on, or rather walked hard, for 
one day across the mountains, till we came to a village 
full of conquered Lolos, women fearless and frank as 
American girls, riding and walking with a grace I have 
never seen equalled ; their men with elaborate ceremonial 
of politeness, but, alas ! too much given to the delights 
of drink. We would gladly have learned more about 
them. But now we heard six days more would bring us 
to Tachienlu, in Chinese Tibet, and all our follow- 
ing were wild to get there, and to get fur coats, the 
Chinaman's ambition. As for ourselves, we wondered if 
it were worth while to go on, but we were certainly in 
no hurry as yet to get back to Chungking. Our last 
news from there was that it was ioo° in the shade, and 
cholera worse than ever. Thirty thousand people, we 
learnt afterwards, died of it in the course of the 
summer, and it was worse still at Chengtu, the capital 
of the province, by which we had purposed returning. 

Not at all particularly anxious for fur coats, not at 
all distinctly remembering what we had read of Ta-. 
chienlu, we decided to go on if we could get ponies, 
and thus decide for ourselves if it were worth while. 
But now came the difficulty. With ponies grazing all 
round, we never could succeed in hiring one. Certainly 
they were very small, and we very big by comparison. 
Every one told us we must get ponies at Fulin. So 


-Oi Staggering under Salt 

to Fulin we pushed on. But this was thirty-six miles, 
over any number of passes, one seven thousand feet 
high, so we were obliged to stop a little short of it 
that night. Next day, however, we got there for 
breakfast. We had formed high expectations with 
regard to Fulin. For six days we had seen men 
staggering along under crushing weights of salt, two 
hundred pounds to each man, too much exhausted by 
their burdens even to look up. And they had all been 
bound for Fulin. People may not want to be mission- 
aries in China, but I do not think any European could 
travel there and not wish to undo the heavy burdens, 
and I have seen no beasts of burthen whose sufferings 
have so moved my heart to pity as these salt-carriers. 
Salt is such a hard, uncompromising load, and it was 
so pitiful to notice how they had to protect it from 
being melted by the sweat that streamed down their 
poor backs. Then the passes were so high, and the 
paths so narrow and so wild, and the heat so great. 
It seemed as if any human heart must break, if it 
contemplated beforehand all it would have to undergo 
to carry one load of salt from Kiating to Fulin. Then, 
however often we calculated it, what they were paid, 
how many days they spent upon the journey, how 
many days going empty-handed back, we never could 
make out that the poor carriers were any the better 
off at the end of all their exertions. Of course they 
must be, or they would not make them ; but it must 
be by a miserable pittance indeed. It appeared now, 
too, that Fulin, though well-to-do enough, was but the 

401 D D 

Intimate China ^ 

distributing centre for two very rich prosperous valleys 
and the country beyond, and there were no ponies to 
be had there. Later on in the day, however, when 
we really did succeed in hiring capital ponies, we no 
longer wondered that it had been difficult to get any for 
such a journey as we were undertaking. For what 
road there had ever been had been carried away in 
several places, and so had the bridges. The mountains 
looked exactly as if, according to the Chinese saying, 
a dragon had really turned round at the top, and clawed 
and scored and gashed the mountain-sides. All the 
people were going to market, as they always are In 
Szechuan, and In one place was a crowd busy remaking 
a bridge In order to get over, whilst farther on three 
of the strongest men of the company had stripped, and, 
holding hands, were cautiously trying fording. Then 
the others followed their example, and for a moment 
or two were carried off their legs by the furious stream. 
The hills were terrible, and, clambering up one, a mule 
in our company failed to establish Its footing, and, 
turning over and over, reached the bottom dead. Just 
the moment before I had been wondering whether my 
tiny pony could make the final effort necessary to attain 
the top of that hill. 

After NItou, which proclaims on a stone tablet that 
it Is the western boundary of the black-haired or 
Chinese race, Tibet seems to begin. We climbed a 
pass nine thousand feet high, then descended again 
for five miles, always In uninhabited country, full of 
flowers. Especially lovely In that September weather 


Carrying Brick Tea 

was the small but very luxuriant deep purple convolvulus 
twining round the acacia mimosas. Just as we passed 
out of the mist — it was unfortunately always misty at 
the tops of the passes — we met a Lama quite resplendent 
in crimson and old gold, 

and then passed troops f.J 

of men carrying brick 
tea. One man carried 
seventeen bars, each 
weighing twenty 
pounds ; others fifteen, 
thirteen, or eleven. 
A boy of fourteen, of 
ten, even one of seven, 
was carrying, the latter 
four half-bars, poor wee 
child ! Just as we were 
sorrowing over the 
children, trees glorious 
with coral flowers 
flashed upon our sight. 
And on the second day 
after leaving Nitou we 
once more came upon 
the great Tung river, 

by the side of which we had before travelled for one 
whole afternoon, separated only by it from the un- 
conquered Lolo country. Never a boat nor raft upon 
the Tung, except one to take people back into Lolo- 
land from a great theatrical performance, at which all 




By Mrs. Archibald Uttle, 

Intimate China 


the countryside had mustered. And once we saw 
a boat by the side of it, but hauled up high and dry. 
It was a round skin-boat, for all the world just like 
the coracles the ancient Britons used. We came also 
upon a terrible gully, descending by a severe slant 
directly into the river. A shower of stones was almost 
continuously rattling down, mixed with a little water ; 
every now and then the shower slackened somewhat, 
and then first one and then another large stone would 
come down, wildly bounding from side to side ; after 
that, the shower would be stronger than ever. When 
the erratic blocks came bounding down, no one put 
his feet in the footprints left by some one else across 
the shifting torrent of stones, that here constituted the 
whole of the great brick-tea road, the great main road 
between Peking and Lassa. At other times they paused 
behind a projecting rock, to watch for a good opportunity, 
and then ran for it. And the usual thing seemed to 
be to laugh. Our little dog had its misgivings in the 
middle, and paused, to be half kicked, half thrown across. 
For it was an anxious moment for our carrying coolies 
and the heavily laden brick-tea men. Meanwhile, our 
cook amused himself by pitching stones into the air, 
and it was eerie to observe that, wherever thrown, and 
however often they bounded, they all ended by falling 
into the deep, swift waters of the unnavigable Tung. 

The next wonder was the celebrated bridge, three 
hundred feet long, and with hardly any drop in the 
nine iron chains of which it is composed. Planks were 
laid loosely upon the chains, starting up at each of 


^ Celebrated Suspension Bridge 

the ponies' steps, and the whole bridge swayed like 
a ship at sea. Two guardians of the bridge at once 
rushed forward, and placed their arms under mine to 
support me across, taking for granted that I should 
be frightened. But looked upon as a yacht pitching 
and tossing, the bridge really did not make bad weather 
of it, so I preferred to walk alone and to notice how 
sea-sick our coolies looked. Just at that point the 
Tung vividly recalled the Rhine at Basle, but with 
probably a greater volume of water. That afternoon 
the scenery began to be as wild and gloomy as we 
had anticipated, granite mountains increasing in size 
and narrowing in upon us, the road taking sudden 
drops down precipitous gorges of four or five hundred 
feet, and then at once up again. There were prickly 
pears all about, and pomegranate-trees in hedges, the 
air full of thyme and peppermint and aromatic scents. 
Tibetan villages, just like the pictures, were visible 
on the far left bank of the Tung, — two-storied houses, 
with tiny holes for windows, and door uncomfortably 
high up, so that no one could get in, if once the entrance 
ladder were drawn up ; roofs set so as apparently to 
let in a free current of air. Not^a tree visible, not a 
man moving : there never is in the pictures ! Impossible, 
however, to get across the Tung to look at them ; and 
when isolated houses were visible on our side, it was 
always in inaccessible eyries. 

The little pony I rode, not one of those excellent 
ponies we hired the first day for^a few hours only, had 
come down twice on both knees with me on its back. 


Intimate China "^ 

It was evident its little legs might have been stronger. 
And as I rode along these granite precipices, my hands 
were hot with terror, until at last I could bear no more. 
For some time beforehand I had been looking at the 
road in front, curving round two headlands — granite 
precipice above, granite precipice below — the road 
overarched by the rock, and had wondered how all 
our party would get by. '' We met one hundred and 
fifty people coming from that direction before our 
luncheon," 1 said to myself " I know it because I 
counted them. And if anything, I left out some, when 
the road was too alarming. They must all have got 
by alive ! And all these brick-tea men now coming 
along with us, of course they are all intending to get 
by alive. It can't be so bad ! " But it was of no use ! 
I could not ride along that road, with the pony slipping 
and stumbling among the stones, and sliding down 
the little descents at the corners with both Its hind 
feet together. Yet the road was good for those parts, 
being all of granite and painfully chiselled out ; so the 
pony-boy, a most lively youth of fifteen, was greatly 
shocked at my dismounting. 

We slept that night where the Lu joins the Tung, 
cutting a granite mountain in half to do so, the half 
that is left standing towering some three or four 
thousand feet above our heads. The Lu is the fullest 
glacier stream I have ever seen. It has a great deal 
more water to carry than the Thames at Richmond, 
and sometimes It Is com.pressed Into a width of six 
yards, with a tremendous fall, coming straight, we are 


-^ Our Last Tibetan Bridge 

told, from a lake at the foot of the great glacier we 
saw first with such delight from the summit of sacred 
Omi, about a hundred miles away as the crow flies. 
All day we rode or walked up the defile, that would 
have been too solemn but for this rollicking glacier 
stream tumbling head over heels all the way down it, 
with side cataracts leaping down, equally overfull of 
foaming water, equally in hot haste to reach the Tung. 
The road was all the way so bad that at last my only 
surprise was to find that there were places the ponies 
could not manage, and that on one occasion they had, 
twice in five minutes, to ford a stream with the water 
well up to my feet, as they stumbled among the big 
boulders in order to avoid a bit of road that all the 
heavily laden brick-tea men had managed. It seemed 
too absurd that those ponies could not, they had done 
so much already. But at last the pony-boy waved 
his arm, as if to say, '' There's Tachienlu ! I've got 
you there at last ! You can't get into trouble now, I 
think, along what we call the bit of smooth road in 
front. And I wash my hands of you ! " 

We rode on, past our last Tibetan bridge. How 
often they had haunted my childhood's dreams ! And 
now I saw a woman seat herself astride the stick 
hanging from the cord drawn taut across the stream, 
and, resting one arm upon a very smooth piece of 
bamboo that runs along the cord, hold with the other 
hand a series of loops of cords hanging from it, and 
allow herself to be pulled across. I longed to do like- 
wise, and went the length of seating myself on the 


Intimate China ^ 

stick ; but the foaming torrent below meant certain death 
if one could not hold on, nor did I know at all what 
reception the Tibetan men on the other side might 
give me, so I got off again. People say it is easy 
enough to go as far as the slope of the cord is down- 
wards, but very hard to pull oneself up the other side, 
and that just at the centre the impulse to let go 
is almost overmastering. We passed flagstaffs with 
lettered pieces of cloth hanging from them inscribed 
with prayers, passed rocks with prayers chiselled on 
their smooth surfaces, into the little frontier town at 
the junction of three valleys, with granite mountains 
hemming it in all round, one terminating in a sharp 
little granite pyramid, quite a feature in the view, and 
in what looked exactly like a fortress with three big 
cannon pointed in different directions. 

We had already met one most exciting party of 
Tibetans, the men fine-looking, one even more than 
that, the women rosy and pleasant-faced and very short- 
skirted, but evidently all thinking it an excellent joke 
not to let me look at them, and such fleet mountaineers 
that, though I ran, I could not keep up with them, 
and they were all out of sight, merrily laughing, before 
we had half seen them. But now at Tachienlu far 
more wonderful people became visible. It was as if 
every wild tribe on the borders of China were repre- 
sented, and a piece of the garment of each patched 
into the garment of every other. And in and out 
among them strode the Lamas, right arm and shoulder 
bared, like Roman senators in dull-red togas, their 


^ Beautiful Men ! 

arms folded and their attitude defiant. A beggar 
passed singing, with a face like Irving's, only glorified. 
He had bare feet, but his face was sublime. Then 
strode by what looked like a tall Highlander, with a 
striped garment of many colours draped round him, 
boots of soft woollen coming to the knee, and edged 
with a coarse stuff of brilliant red and yellow. Next, 
two wild-looking men, with blue hats, that were hats 
and hoods all in one, slouched upon their heads, a red 
disc in the centre of each, their most luxuriant hair, in 
innumerable very fine plaits, twisted round and round, 
and fastened at one side with large red and yellow rings. 
Tibetan women, with fine, rather Irish features, black 
eyes and hair, and rosy cheeks, were smiling on us 
from the doorsteps, their hair plaited with a red cord, 
and twisted in a most becoming coronal round their 
heads. They had large silver earrings with red coral 
drops, red cloth collars fastened by large silver clasps, 
always a lump of coral in the centre of the middle 
one, and a large turquoise in that on either side. 
They had silver chatelaines hanging from their waists, 
though often only a needlebook on the chatelaine, large 
silver bracelets and strings of coral beads on their arms, 
and their fingers covered with enormous rings. 

Every one looked at us and smiled. Could anything 
be more different from the reception we were accustomed 
to in a Chinese city ? Every one looked at us as if 
to say, '' Are not you glad to have got here ? " We 
felt more and more glad every minute, but a little 
bewildered too. It was all so strange ; the streets 


Intimate China ^ 

were so full of corners and of strange-looking people, 
all looking and smiling at us. And they seemed to go 
on for ever. When were we going really to arrive ? 

But when we reached the caravanserai, or inn, where 
Baber stayed and Mr. Rockhill and all the foreigners, 

where Prince Henry 
of Orleans and Mr. 
Pratt were shut up 
as It were, the 
place looked so 
forbidding we hesi- 
tated to enter, till 
reassured by hear- 
ing the strident 
tones of our Chinese 
butler inside. The 
rooms actually up- 
stairs — after we had 
gone up the stair- 
case, embedded in 
filth and hair — were 
a most agreeable 
surprise, almost as 
good as an attic in 
a London East-End lodging-house at first sight. But- 
tered tea was served at once, and before many 
minutes were over the lady of the inn, a very 
handsome Tibetan, had invited me to a little repast 
in her private room : tea buttered, of course — and 
really very good — Tibetan cheese like very fresh 


By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

■^ Prayers ? 

cream-cheese, and tsamba, a kind of barley-meal, and 
excellent when kneaded into a ball with buttered 
tea. Lamas strode in and out of the courtyard, and 
stared, swinging praying- wheels. All manner of men 
and women looked in. It was quite enough to sit at 
the window and look down at the kaleidoscope below, 
for every one came in and gave us a glance. And 
that was just what we wanted to do to them. But 
they would not sell their praying-wheels, and the Lamas 
would not let me look at the amulets which they carry 
on their breasts in square cases, sometimes crusted 
with turquoises. Surely never was there a people 
more bejewelled. The dirtiest man we saw would have 
a jewel or two stuck in his hair, and as likely as not 
a huge ring on his finger. 

. There were ^v^ flagstaffs hung with prayers on 
our Inn, besides a long cord, hung with them, stretched 
across the roof. People were muttering " Om Mani Padmi 
Hum" as they passed along the street; and as the last 
sound at night was the Lamas' trumpets calling to 
prayers, so we were roused before dawn by the men 
in the room below us reciting continuously *' Om Mani 
Padmi Hum " over and over again for two hours at 
least. One began to say it oneself: ''The jewel is 
in the lotus," — a pretty saying enough, which might 
mean anything. But, alas ! we could see no more of 
the Tibetans at their devotions. At the first lamaserai 
we visited the temple doors were closed, and the Lamas 
signified by gestures that no key could be found to 
open them. They were not uncivil there, although 


Intimate China ^ 

rather peremptorily forbidding me to use my eyeglass 
till they had themselves examined it, to see what effect 
it might have on the brilliantly coloured pictures in the 
temple porch. They also forbade me to photograph, 
yet allowed me to do so in the end, and acquiesced 
in my going upstairs to get a better place for the 
camera. There I saw that the door of each Lama's 
room, giving on the colonnade running round the court- 
yard, was locked and padlocked with a padlock of 
such portentous size as to suggest many thoughts. 
Only one door downstairs had been open, where a 
very small Lama was repeating his lessons out of what 
looked like a most beautifully written and illuminated 
book ; for, the paper in the window being torn 
out, we could see all over the room, which looked 
like a particularly dirty, dilapidated little stable. But 
when I asked the small boy's leave to go in, wishing 
to examine his book, he sprang to the doorway, and 
the attitude into which he threw himself, forbidding 
me to enter, was superb. It said '* Avaunt, Satanas ! " 
and indicated that all the lightnings of heaven would 
fall, if I took but one step forward. And, though 
amused, I could not but admire the little boy for so 
pluckily standing his ground. But when another little 
Lama, on our coolies somewhat roughly ordering him 
to keep clear of [the camera, threw himself into an 
attitude of boxing, it seemed so ridiculous that, just 
to test him, I laughed, then clenched my fist, and made 
as if I would fight too ; on which he laughed heartily, 
showing he could quite understand a joke. 


^ Tibetan Temples 

Most of the buildings at Tachienlu appeared in 
the last stage of decay, especially the temples. One 
was so full of birds' droppings that we imagined they 
could never have been cleared away since the day it 
was built. Two fierce dogs were chained across the 
threshold ; and though I found I could just squeeze 
myself in out of reach of either, I noticed none of 
our Chinese coolies cared to follow. Tibetan dogs are 
noted for their fierceness, and are one of the great 
difficulties of travel in Tibet. There were boys burning 
something that had a horrible smell in the great incense- 
burner in front, while a priest, attended by a boy, was 
beating a gong and chanting within. This was the 
only sign of worship we came across. But the passage- 
way between the back and front temple was all hung 
with oblong bits of paper, on which prayers were 
written. One day we met two very wild-looking 
Tibetans, each bent under a load of three huge pieces 
of slate inscribed with prayers ; and presently we met 
a string of Tibetan women, bent more than double 
under loads of hvQ, six, or even as many as seven bars 
of brick tea, each weighing twenty pounds. The world 
often seems rather 'topsy-turvy to a traveller. 

A dark door like a house door, a dark passage 
merely partitioned off from a shop, then an alley-way 
that seemed to be used as a slaughter-house, led up 
to Kwanyin's temple, a very conspicuous and rather 
coquettish building on a hill overlooking the town. 
When we got there, followed by a crowd of the usual 
tiresome litde Chinese boys, and also by two most 


Intimate China ^ 

beautiful Tibetans, on pushing open the door we found 
numbers of neglected prayers hanging from the rafters, 
old broken beams lying in a heap, a staircase so rickety 
that no one liked to go up it, and, at the top of it, a 
barred door, sufficiently saying ''Not at home." One 
of the Tibetans had such a quantity of hair, and such 
ringlets, that one of our coolies, with Chinese insolence, 
touched it to see if it was real. The Tibetan was 
elderly, and evidently well seasoned to the world, and 
only laughed at the liberty. But his companion — a 
beautiful youth, with a face of that feminine type that 
one only sees now in old books of beauty, arched 
eyebrows delicately pencilled, aquiline nose, features 
all too delicate for this workaday world — blushed vividly, 
and looked so unutterably pained that I longed to 
apologise, only we lacked a mutual language. He 
had himself a yet more inordinate quantity of hair, 
some of which must have been horse-hair, frizzed and 
raised so as to simulate the high pompadour style ; 
but I think the ringlets that shadowed his translucent 
complexion must have been his own. 

Then we went on to the great lamaserai, some 
distance from the town upon the Lassa road. We 
walked between walls of prayer-slates on either hand, 
with prayers streaming to the wind on all the hilltops 
and on every point of vantage ; and having crossed 
the Chinese parade-ground, with a very beautiful weep- 
ing-willow and an avenue of specially fine alders of a 
local variety, saw a temple all golden points and golden 
balls outside, and attached to it a long melancholy 


^ Boy Lamas 

building rather like a workhouse, but for tall, narrow 
baskets in all the windows ablaze with Tibetan Glory — 
a brilliant orange marigold. Several little boy Lamas sat 
on the doorstep playing with a dead rat, which they were 
pulling about by a string, one little crimson-clad boy 
screaming with delight at the dead creature's antics. We 
had just been warned to take up our little dog because of 
the fierce dogs inside, and the little Lamas now laughed 
and cried out at the sight of a dog being carried. 

There were many coloured cylinders on each side 
of the entrance gate — prayer- wheels — and it was curious 
to notice the expression of one of these children, when, 
thinking I was imitating him, I turned one of the 
cylinders the wrong way. He shrieked, and the ex- 
pression of concentrated rage in his knotted eyebrows 
was a revelation to me. I hastened to turn the cylinder 
the right way with a smile, and the little fellow was 
pacified, while all the children set off running — as it 
appeared afterwards — to announce our coming, and 
have their own fierce dogs shut up. 

We found ourselves in a very large courtyard — a 
long parallelogram — handsomely, indeed gorgeously, 
painted. Opposite to the entrance gate were the closed 
doors of the temple, with no way of opening them 
visible, brilliantly coloured pictures on either side of 
them. The summits of the temple were so heavily 
gilded as to look like solid gold, so also were two 
deer about the size of collie dogs, sitting one on each 
side of a large golden disc, curiously worked, placed 
on the temple front above the door. On the top of 


Intimate China ^ 

the temple were several of those curious Tibetan 
ornaments of which I neither know the name nor the 
purpose. Two looked like very tall, narrow, golden 
flower-pots, handsomely ornamented ; two like sticks 
with ropes hanging down all round them, girt trans- 
versely with white paper bands. Could they possibly 
be meant for state umbrellas ? The cords were black, 
and looked as if made of hair. The front of the temple 
was of stone, painted red, but the top of it looked as 
if it consisted of billets of wood all laid close together, 
of a dull red-brown. There was a brilliantly painted 
colonnade, with outside staircase leading at intervals to 
an upper verandah, all round the courtyard, excepting 
just where stood the temple ; and to its left a specially 
gaudy house. In front of this latter was again a 
collection of black hanging ropes, and on the top of 
this a human skull I 

While I was noticing all these details. Lamas all 
in crimson, each with the right arm bare, continued 
to troop into the courtyard and into the verandah 
above, from which at first they looked down, making 
eyes and smiling the Lama's smile upon a woman. 
But suddenly, as a loud voice, with the tone of 
authority, became audible in the distance, the smiles 
vanished, and the Lamas stood round quite expression- 
less with folded arms. I had just stepped forward to 
examine more carefully that human skull, startled by 
the horror of it amidst all the gorgeous colouring 
around, when the blood rushed to my heart, as there 
came a sound, and close upon the sound two large 


^ Set upon by Dogs 

Tibetan dogs sprang out through an Inner gateway 
and made straight for me. 

It passed through my mind at once, that it was 
useless to try to quell Tibetan dogs, as one so often 
quells Chinese dogs. I remembered that they are said 
never to let go, and I knew now at once that voice 
in authority had been ordering the dogs to be loosed. 
Sick with terror, I yet thrust the iron point of my 
alpenstock into the jaws of the foremost dog ; but the 
fierce creature, although with such tremendous leverage 
against it, tore it from my grasp, and shook the long 
stick in its teeth as if it had been a straw. My 
husband sprang forward to the rescue, though still 
holding our own little dog in his arms. One of our 
coolies, a really brave, strong ex-soldier, followed him, 
and together the two managed somehow to beat off 
the dogs, and then we all ran for it. My recollection 
is that to the last not a Lama — and there must have 
been at least forty of them standing round, all draped 
in crimson — moved a muscle even of his countenance. 
We had bowed politely on entering, and asked leave ; 
but we did not bow as we came away thus hurriedly 
to the sound of more and more dogs baying in the 

There were shrines full of little clay pyramids 
covered with images of Buddha ; there were more and 
finer prayer-slates by the principal entrance, by which 
we came out. But whether the Lamas ever pray, God 
knows, I don't! 

As we passed back into the town again, from the 

417 E K 

Intimate China ^ 

shop from which a handsome woman, beautifully be- 
jewelled, had gone out that morning with her handmaid 
to do her own washing in the pure glacier stream, 
we heard a jolly laugh ring out from the same jovial 
Lama we had left there talking to my handsome friend 
as we passed out. 

The Roman Catholic priests here say that the 
people believe in nothing except their Lamas, and we 
feel a little Inclined to think, If they believe In them, 
it is no wonder that they believe in nothing else. 
Whatever any one may think of missions in China — and 
I am grieved as well as greatly surprised to find how 
little Interest people generally take In them — every one 
must wish well to missionaries to Tibet ; for the priest- 
hood must have an extraordinarily paralysing effect, that 
this physically gifted people, still with princes of their 
own, should have sunk under Chinese control, in spite 
of the Impregnable natural fastnesses of their mountains, 
and the defence established by their climate. Whilst we 
were there, In September, the thermometer varied from 
56° to 60°, but the winds blew so keenly off the 
glaciers that many people were wearing heavy furs, 
and the price of them had already gone up. 

Buying, Indeed, we found most exhausting work at 
Tachienlu. At home, when one feels like buying, 
one goes to the shops ; but the people who have 
anything to sell drop In at Tachienlu from early 
morning till late, late at night, merry rosy little maidens 
with a keen eye to business, or wonderfully withered 
old crones. They ask any price at first ; then just as 


^ Tibetan Lady's Dress 

they are going away say quietly, "What would you 
like to give ? " after which they stand out by the hour 
for an additional half-rupee for themselves, to give 
which a rupee has to be carefully cut in two. An 
aged chieftain, with a most beautiful prayer-wheel and 
rosary, both of which, he says, are heirlooms and 
cannot be sold, brings a beautifully embroidered red 
leather saddle-cloth for sale ; while a Tibetan from the 
interior brings first a Lama's bell, then cymbals, then 
woollen clothes of soft, rich colours, and little serving- 
maids appear with cast-off clothes, expecting us to 
buy them all. It is interesting to notice how very 
fashionable is a Tibetan lady's dress — a sleeveless gown, 
that opens down the front like a tea-gown, a skirt 
with box pleats so tiny and so near together as to 
be almost on the top of one another, carefully fastened 
down so as to lie quite fiat, and lined at the bottom 
with a broad false hem of coarse linen, so as to avoid 
unnecessary weight. Yet even as it is, the weight of 
this silk skirt is prodigious. Over this is worn a jacket, 
and over this an apron girt round rather below the 
waist with a variety of girdles. But it is hard to say 
what a Tibetan girl really does wear, for the seventeen- 
year-old daughter of the inn, finding herself rather 
coming to pieces, began rectifying her toilette in my 
presence, and I lost count of the garment below 
garment that appeared in the process, all girdled rather 
below the waist. The finish of the toilette, even in 
ordinary life, seems to be an unlimited supply of 
jewellery and dirt, the finger-nails, besides being deeply 


Intimate China ^ 

grimed, being also tinged with red. The men wear 
turquoises in their hair, and often one gigantic ear- 
ring, besides rosaries and big amulet-cases. And the 
general effect is so brilliant one rather loses sight of 
the dirt. But indeed, after travelling through China, 
it would be difficult to be much struck by dirt 

It is very trying that they have such a very quick 
perception of a camera. I have spent hours with a 
detective half hidden behind a pile of woollens at 
our window, and tried every expedient. But they are 
said to think the photographer gets their soul from 
them, and then has two to enjoy, whilst they themselves 
are left soulless. At last, however, after a great deal 
of coaxing, six Tibetan women stood up in a row, 
encouraged to do so by the elder daughter of the inn, 
who is married — though probably after the Tibetan 
fashion — to a rich Yunnan merchant, who occupied 
one wing of the courtyard, filling it with beautiful wild 
men, but himself absorbed in his opium-pipe. I was 
afraid to place them, or do anything beyond asking 
the aged chieftain to leave off turning his prayer-wheel 
for the one second while I took them, although I longed 
to arrange them a little, and was disappointed that the 
daughter of the inn had not put on any of the grand 
clothes and jewellery she had exhibited to me. 

The last day or two the yaks were coming into 
town in droves to fetch the brick tea away. All those 
we saw were black, although the yaks' tails for sale 
were white. They were rather like Highland cattle 


■^ Crossing the Tung 

for size, and seemed very quiet, although looking so 
fierce, with long bushy manes and tails, and long shaggy 
hair down their front legs. The last day we were at 
Tachienlu we got a perfectly clear view of the snowy 
mountains and glacier to the south, as we stood outside 
the north gate beyond the magnificent alders there. 
All that day we rode down the narrow granite defile 
that leads up from the Tung, and then we heard it 
really would be possible to cross the river and see the 
Tibetan villages on its left bank, if we could walk for 
two miles higher up to where there was a boat. 

My husband was suffering from neuralgia, but he 
very heroically consented to my going without him, 
a proceeding which our Chinese servant so highly 
condemned, that he became almost violent before I 
started early next day with all four of the yainen 
runners, sent by the Chinese Government to protect 
us, and one of our soldier coolies to protect me from 
the yamen runners. As the Tung would not be pass- 
able again till we reached the city of the great chain 
bridge, I had thus a long day to look forward to through 
unknown country ; and knowing how the Tibetans feel 
about photography, there was a certain amount of 
anxiety about the proceeding. But what a disappoint- 
ment awaited me ! We walked the longest two miles 
ever human being walked, till we came to the place 
where the boat was on the other side of the river. 
The coolie had run on ahead to hail it. But in spite 
of his shouting no one moved in the village opposite. 
We had been warned that nothing would indu:e the 


Intimate China ^ 

people to come across with the boat till they had 
breakfasted, so we sat down and waited. 

We saw a man and boy come out to till the ground. 
The boy lay on his back, and looked at us and sang 
to himself. All four yamen runners shouted, and 
waved strings of cash. A shepherd came out with 
a herd of goats, another with cows and goats. We 
judged by the smoke that breakfasts were preparing. 
We even saw one man come out upon his flat roof 
with what we decided to be an after-breakfast pipe. 
We thought he must come now. Yes ! Surely there 
was some one coming to the boat! No, it was a man 
with a basket on his back, evidently wanting to cross 
to our side. He sat down and waited. Presently 
another man came out and sat down beside him. They 
became quite happy, those two^ — setting to at once in 
what probably is a never-ending occupation for them, 
hunting 'mid their rags for vermin ! Two other moving 
bundles of rags came slowly down and joined them— 
one apparently a man, the other looking rather like 
a woman. They also sat and hunted ! At last the 
boy moved ; he w^ent to the village, we thought, to 
call some one. Our hopes rose. All my men shouted 
together. A man came to the water's edge ! Another! 
They looked at us. They looked at the boat. They 
felt the boat, but they did not push it into the water ; 
and they went away. We were in despair. We made 
feints of going, and then came back again. At last 
there was nothing for it but to go really. The beggars 
in their- rags on the other side . got uneasy then. They 


^ Magistrate's Summary Justice 

even shouted to us, begging us to stop ; but it was 
of no use. Hours afterwards, as we coasted a granite 
headland, we saw that boat still high and dry. I would 
so gladly have risked my life in it. 

But now, besides retracing our long two miles — now 
under a burning sun — we had twenty-two miles to get 
over in order to join the rest of our party and get shelter 
for the night. It was a comfort to find some more 
coolies with lanterns sent to meet us before we had to 
cross the chain bridge, for there are often planks missing 
in it and others v/ith great holes in them. We went 
across in a phalanx. I held on to the coolie on my left, 
he reached an arm out to secure the man with the light, 
and the coolie on my other side supported my elbow. 
It seemed we got on best when we all went in step 
together, although I should not have thought so. On 
arriving, we found that, when our carrying coolies had 
crossed, some yamen runners had attacked them, and in 
the scuffle that ensued the fur coat of the coolie, who 
had gone with me, had been stolen out of a basket. So 
my husband was just starting for the yamen to tell the 
tale. " I know all about it," said the magistrate, " and 
it is quite true they were yamen runners, who acted 
very wrongly. You want them punished ? Behold ! " 
And the curtain behind him was drawn back, and there 
were two men with their heads in cangues. But the 
coolie from whom the coat had been stolen stood up 
before the magistrate, and stoutly maintained those 
were not the men. '' How could you know in the 
confusion?" asked the magistrate. "Can you identify 


Intimate China ^ 

the men ? If so, and these are not the right ones, I will 
punish the others also." 

So there we were, but not the fur coat ! What a 
comfort it was, though, to rest after that long, hot day ! 
And how luxurious to be carried next day in a sedan- 
chair along the beautiful banks of the swift-flowing 
Tung ! Then six days' travelling, against time now, 
along the great brick-tea road, through scenes of varying 
beauty, among gigantic ferns and waxen begonias nestling 
into the walls, past long ranges of black-and-white 
farm-buildings, shadowed by large, beautiful shade-trees ; 
a day and a half on a bamboo raft down the exceedingly 
pretty but turbulent Ya, with the waves washing up 
to our knees at all the bad rapids ; after which five 
days down the conjoined rivers Ya, Tung, and Yangtse ; 
and then home in Chungking again, after the most 
adventurous and by far the most varied and interesting 
summer outing that it has yet fallen to my lot to make. 




Porcelain. — Bronzes. — Silver-work. — Pictures. — 
Architecture. — Tea. — Silk. — White Wax. — Grass 
cloth. — Ivory Fans. — Embroidery. 

EVEN if I had the knowledge, It would be useless 
to attempt to write exhaustively of Chinese 
porcelain in one chapter ; but a few shreds of informa- 
tion about it may be new to the general reader. Julien's 
theory that it was first made between the years 185 B.C. 
and A.D. 87 is set aside by Dr. Hirth, the greatest living 
authority upon ancient Chinese porcelain. The latter 
believes it was first made during the T'ang Dynasty, 
which lasted to a.d. 907 ; but there are no specimens 
of porcelain extant before the Sung Dynasty, which 
ended in 1259, the majority even then being of the class 
known as "celadons," which survived owing to their 
thickness and strength. The prevailing colour of these 
celadons Is green, the colour of jade ; and yellow Is men- 
tioned as one of the ingredients used for producing this 
colour. They were mostly made in the south-west of 
the province of Chekiang, taken by river to the Amoy 
waters, and thence distributed by Arab traders to Japan, 
Borneo, Sumatra, the west of Asia, and the east coast 
of Africa, in which last, curiously enough, large numbers 


Intimate China ^ 

have been discovered. They have been freely imitated 
at King-teh-chen, the great porcelain factory of China, 
as well as in Japan ; but collectors should, it seems, 
have no difficulty in distinguishing the genuine articles, 
from their extreme hardness. 

The safest guide to Chinese porcelain is Hsiang- 
tse-chlilg, who was collecting and cataloguing it whilst 
Shakespeare was writing his early poems, and whose 
richly Illustrated catalogue has been translated. The 
most exquisite Chinese porcelain seems to have perished 
from Its fragility, and the extraordinarily large demands 
of the Imperial Palace had apparently In old days the 
same effect European demands are said to have now. 
When the Palace ordered a hundred thousand pairs 
of cups or vases — the Chinese always want pairs — 
naturally the Government factories were obliged to 
supplement the most expensive and rare colours by 
others less costly and more simple, whilst the highest 
order of artistic excellence had to give way to mechanical 
repetition. Modern collectors get the bulk of their 
specimens from the dispersion of articles furnished to 
meet such vast orders ; and the Ming porcelain Is 
naturally somewhat coarse In make, faulty In shape, 
and decorated with paintings which, though characterised 
by boldness of design, have usually been executed 
without much care. 

The ancient bronzes of China only became an object 
of Interest to Chinese collectors about eight centuries 
ago. From that date on great attention has been paid 
to the inscriptions upon ancient vases, and it Is very 



^ Famous Vase on Silver Island 

difficult to deceive Chinese archaeologists, from their 
thorough knowledge of their own past history. A 
vase dating from the Chow Dynasty, and preserved 
at Silver Island near Chinkiang, has attracted especial 
attention. A former Viceroy of Kwangtung, Yuen-yuen, 
writing at the beginning of this century, describes his 
visit to Silver Island to see this vase. He examined 
it critically, and described it minutely in his four-volume 
archaeological collection. He studied its colour, shape, 
and dimensions, and especially the inscriptions of forty 
characters. He was himself a scholar of the highest 
attainments, and his judgment in regard to the epoch 
to which this valuable relic of former ages belongs 
has been accepted and endorsed by succeeding scholars. 
The vase was much coveted by the notorious Yen-sung, 
an unprincipled statesman, who made great efforts to 
add it to his private collection in Peking in the Ming 
Dynasty. Yuen-yuen refers to these abortive designs, 
because, Yen-sung being a good judge of all relics of 
old times, this is an additional testimony to the genuine 
antiquity of the vase, and it indicates the deep interest 
felt in it by the archaeologists of the Ming Dynasty. 
Beside the descriptions of it in the ordinary works which 
give details on bells and vases generally, monographs 
have been published on this particular vase showing 
that the best-informed native scholars are at one in 
the regard felt for it as genuine. 

Twenty years ago the Chin Shili So was published, 
and this work with its profuse illustrations helped to 
spread the knowledge both of the new-found Han 


Intimate China ^^ 

Dynasty sculptures and of the earHer bronze vessels. 
Rich men and scholars became sensible of the great 
pleasure to be derived from archaeological research. 
And this has become a real feature of modern Chinese 
life. Men of means and leisure visit all celebrated monu- 
ments to study them for themselves, and take back with 
them rubbings to preserve at home. The large demand 
that there is in China for rubbings of ancient inscriptions 
is very remarkable. The bells and vases have now, 
like the stone drums, after much cautious inquiry and 
no little collision of opinion, secured a place stronger 
than ever in the judgment of the well informed in the 
Chinese reading class. 

"It was about a.d. i66 that a king of Rome sent 
an embassy which arrived from the borders of Annam, 
bringing tribute of ivory, rhinoceros-horn, and tortoise- 
shell. From that time began the direct intercourse with 
that country. The fact that no jewels were found among 
the articles of tribute must be accounted for by the 
supposition that the ambassadors retained .them for 
themselves." In the following century, the third. Western 
traders resorted to Canton ; so that it appears the 
Cantonese have been afflicted by the presence of bar- 
barians for no less than sixteen hundred years. Possibly 
this explains how the Maeander pattern on old Chinese 
bronzes so resembles the Greek ''key" pattern, and 
why the lions' heads at the approach to the tomb of 
the first Ming Emperor at Nanking have rings in their 
mouths, thus exactly resembling the lions' heads so often 
to be seen on the mahogany cellarettes of our grand- 


^^ The Chinese Giotto 

fathers, possibly also why the Chinese Buddhist ritual 
and that of Roman Catholics are so strikingly similar. 

According to Dr. Hirth, paper already existed in 
China in the second century. But to leave these 
ancient researches and come down to modern times. 

It was a real pleasure to me at Kiukiang to see 
Chinamen hammering away at silver ornaments exactly 
after the method advocated in Mr. Leland's (Hans Breit- 
mann's) excellent volume in the Art at Home Series, 
and just as so many amateurs are now making admirable 
brasswork at home — laying a thin sheet of metal on 
pitch, and working at the background with a hammer 
and sharpened nail or punch, thus making the pattern, 
previously traced out, start into high relief The more 
roughly this work is done, the handsomer is its effect ; 
so that it seems better suited for brass sconces for 
candles or doorplates than for silver hair ornaments. 
But it was pleasant to find these Chinamen in their 
little shops provided with a plentiful supply of sharpened 
nails, together with the familiar punches. 

It is not an equal pleasure to study modern Chinese 
paintings. Centuries have passed since they were what 
we must imagine from the story of Wu Taotze, the 
Chinese Giotto, who flourished in the eighth century. 
It is related that, when he was commanded to paint 
a landscape upon the walls of the great Hall of Audience 
at the Palace, he begged that he might work alone 
and undisturbed. When he announced that all was 
ready, the Emperor and the Court, on entering, found 
the artist standing alone in front of a great curtain. 


Intimate China ^ 

'' As the folds of drapery rolled away, a marvellous 
and living scene was spread out before the amazed 
spectators, — -a vast perspective of glade and forest, hill 
and valley, with peaceful lakes and winding streams, 
stretching away to a far horizon closed in by azure 
mountain-peaks ; and in a wild, rocky foreground, in 
the very front of the picture, stood a grotto, its entrance 
closed by a gateway. ' All this, sire, is as naught,' 
said the painter, ' to that which is concealed from 
mortal gaze within.' Then at a sign the gate opened, 
and he passed through, beckoning his royal master. 
But in a moment, before the entranced Emperor could 
move a step, the whole eerie prospect faded away, 
leaving the blank and solid wall. And Wu Taotze 
was never seen again." 

'' Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard -" 

The pictures that never were painted, the poems 
that never were written ! — the Chinese thought it all 
out long ago, how those that were only Imagined were 
the best. And yet we think them a people without 
sentiment or artistic sensibility — we, with our fairest 
scenes disfigured by coarse advertisements, every silken 
detail In our theatres given us by Mr. So-and-so, only 
the acting left out. 

The glorious white falcon attributed to the Emperor 
Hui Tsung at the beginning of the twelfth century 
and the exquisite pictures of flowers and birds to 
be seen at the British Museum show whence the 
Japanese borrowed their art Inspiration ; but in China, 
its birthplace, it is wanting now, though probably in 


^ Selling Pictures by the Foot 

many rich official residences glorious specimens are still 
to be found such as I have myself been delighted by 
in Japan, where alone and at the British Museum I 
have seen Chinese masterpieces of painting. Before 
Giotto was born the Chinese were painting living human 
figures such as they cannot paint now. It is, however, 
true that in Chungking, the only Chinese city I know 
really well, there is to this day an artist who paints 
flowers as a connoisseur, the head of an English techni- 
cal school, pronounced only one man in England could. 
And how does this poor artist sell his pictures ? Of 
course, it will never be believed in England that he is 
an artist at all, when I tell the sad truth — he sells 
them by the square foot ! And when you decide to buy 
a picture, he — measures it ! 

The popularly received opinion is that there is no 
architecture in China. Houses and temples alike are 
built with wooden pillars, raised off the ground upon 
stone bases. The roofs are placed upon the pillars, 
and only when the roofs are finished are the walls built 
up like screens. The proportions often strike me as 
very beautiful ; and the cunningly contrived perspectives 
add much to their dignity. But, as in Japan, whilst 
moved to admiration by the approach, one often has 
a disappointed feeling of not arriving at anything in 
the end. At the same time, the conception of a Chinese 
house, like the design of Peking, strikes me as very 
lordly; the courtyards are extremely graceful and elegant, 
whilst the beautiful sweep of the roofs makes European 
roofs painfully mean by comparison. Indeed, a European 

433 F F 

Intimate China ^ 

house now usually gives me the same effect as a face 
would divested of eye-lashes. The Chinese roofs in the 
west of China and at Peking are, however, far more beau- 
tiful than those generally to be seen along the east coast. 
To turn to Chinese Industries. When tea was first 
discovered, all sorts of medicinal properties were attri- 
buted to it. It Is to be hoped the virtue lay rather, 
as we are told now It does with whisky-and-water, in 
the hot water ; for If not, what does the poor Tibetan 
get out of the ^150,000 he Is said to spend on tea 
at Tachlenlu, the frontier city — for 65 per cent, of wild 
scrub leaves, scrub oak, etc., are said to be mixed up 
in the brick tea he receives ? And the cost of the 
tea In the Tachlenlu market Is nearly doubled before 
the Tibetan receives It at Batang ; at Lassa It has 
quadrupled Its price. It Is only for the last four 
centuries the Tibetans have had silver to exchange for 
tea ; till then It was exchanged for horses, a good horse 
being valued at 240 lb. of tea. Even to this day the 
tea trade Is much too limited for the four million of 
Tibetans ; and the many thousand Tibetans who cannot 
afford tea use oak bark Instead, astrlngency being the 
quality they desire to relieve them from headache and 
excessive meat-eatingc The tea trade with Russia still 
thrives; but that with Europe has been killed' by the 
much more carefully grown and prepared tea of Ceylon 
and India — though melancholy experience must ere long 
teach people that this tea has altogether other and more 
undesirable properties than the soothing, refreshing 
beverage of China. 


-»i Tea Cultivation 

It is, however, no wonder that the China tea 
trade has languished. Home industries are universal 
in China, and each peasant who farms a bit of land 
grows his tea, picks it and dries it, according to his 
own ideas. To introduce any improvement it would 
be therefore necessary to educate the great mass of 


peasant cultivators. European tea-buyers' exhortations 
have so far proved fruitless ; and it is distressing to 
see the utter want of care with which the tea-plant, 
with its glossy green leaves and delicate white blossom, 
is treated, compared with the untiring labour expended 
upon the poisonous poppy-plant. The latter is carefully 
weeded, planted in regular lines, with the earth mounded 
round its roots, and presents an appearance of the 


Intimate China "^ 

most perfect vigorous health, with its erect stalk over 
five feet high, its blue-green leaves, and beautiful 
blossoms. Sometimes it stands out brilliant crimson 
against a transcendently blue sky, making the eyes 
ache with the gorgeous colour contrast ; at others it Is 
white, delicately fringed and pink-tlpped, or pink, or 
scarlet, or scarlet and black, or with the purple of the 
purple Iris, or oftenest of all — and perhaps, after all, most 
beautiful — white of that frail fair whiteness that makes it 
impossible to think of crime or vice as connected with 
it — Impossible even to believe In the existence of so 
foul a w^eed as vice being able to exist In a world 
that produces so frail and pure a flower, able to stand 
upright In the full heat of a China noonday sun and 
remain unwilted. The tea-shrubs, on the other hand, 
are old and gnarled, planted Irregularly just anywhere, 
and never by any chance weeded. The same want 
of care Is shown In the drying of the young leaves, 
picked just as they are opening out off their young 
shoots. At the same time. If Scotland would take to 
China tea, there would not be so many cases of tea- 
poisoning as there now are In Glasgow ; but the 
beverage Is a mild one, that must seem tasteless to 
whisky-drinkers. It has the further apparent dis- 
advantage that an equal amount of leaf will not make 
anything like the same strength of decoction that Indian 
tea will. 

China silk Is also In a bad way ; but, Indeed, all 
over the world now It seems difficult to get healthy 
silkworm eggs. To turn, however, to an especially 


^ Insects carried by Night 

Chinese industry, and one which still seems to me even, 
after seeing it, to border on the marvellous — the white 
or vegetable wax of China. The processes essential 
to its use began about six centuries ago. The tree 
which produces the white wax insect grows in the 
Chienchang valley, on the far or western side of the 
unconquered Lolos, a valley about five thousand feet 
above the level of the sea. The Kew authorities 
pronounce that this tree is the Ligicstritin iMcidum, or 
large-leaved privet, an evergreen with very thick dark- 
green glossy foliage, bearing clusters of white flowers 
in May and June, succeeded afterwards by fruit of a 
dark-purple colour. In March brown excrescences 
become visible, attached to the branches ; and if these 
be opened, a crowd of minute insects, looking like flour, 
will be discovered. Two or three months later these 
develop into a brown insect with six legs. And as 
the Chinese have discovered that these insects would 
not continue to flourish on the trees, their birthplace, 
they make them up into paper packets of about sixteen 
ounces each ; and porters, each carrying sixty of these 
packets, hurry by night along the dangerous mountain 
paths to Kiating, a city about two hundred miles to 
north and east, and place them there on severely 
pollarded trees of the Fraxinus chinensis. It is this 
flight by night that has always fascinated my imagi- 
nation, even before I traversed the successive high 
mountain passes, descending into the valleys over- 
grown by ferns and lit up every here and there by 
waxy clusters of the beautiful begonia flower that 


Intimate China 

there flourishes as a wallflower. But it would be 
impossible to carry the insects through the noonday 
heat, as it would develop them too fast. Therefore, 
at the season of the carriage of the insect, all the 
city gates along the route have to be left open at 
night to facilitate the passage of the army of running 
porters. And to think of the rough, rocky ascents 
and descents those poor porters have to stumble 
along ! The packages of insects are each wrapped in 
a leaf of the wood-oil tree ; rice straw is used to 
suspend the packet under the branches of the ash- 
tree ; rough holes are drilled in the leaf with a blunt 
needle, so that the insects may find their way out ; 
and they creep rapidly up to the leaves of the ash- 
tree, where they nestle for about thirteen days. They 
then descend to the branches, and the females begin 
to develop scales on which to deposit their eggs, and 
the males to excrete what looks like snow as it coats 
the under side of the boughs and twigs, till at the 
end of three months it is a quarter of an inch thick. 
The branches are then lopped off and the wax re- 
moved, chiefly by hand, and placed in an iron pot of 
boiling water, where it rises to the surface, is skimmed 
off", and deposited in a rough mould. This is then 
the extraordinary hard white wax of commerce, used 
to coat the ordinary tallow candles, and give the 
tallow greater consistence, thus enabling the Chinese to 
carry tallow candles about in the paper lanterns that 
supply still the place of lamps, gas, and electric lighting 
for the greater part of China. It is used also to size 


-»i Tribute Wax 

paper and cotton goods, as furniture polish, and to 
impart a gloss to silk. 

There is a tribute of white wax sent every year 


to Peking ; and to see it going down-river in native 
junks, or being trans-shipped from that more romantic 
mode of travel into an ordinary steamer, has a certain 
fascination for me : but the real romance about the 
white wax is that hurried midnight journey across 
the Szechuan mountains before it has ever come into 
the world at all. And it rather spoils the interest than 


Intimate China ^ 

otherwise to be told such dry facts as that from Hankow 
every year fifteen thousand piculs of white vegetable 
wax are exported, Chinkiang, Tientsin, Canton, and 
Swatow each requiring one thousand piculs, Shanghai 
absorbing seven thousand, and exporting four thousand 
more to other places. But any one who has been 
benighted on a lonely hillside or on the banks ot 
some unknown river knows the transport of delight 
with which a light in the distance is recognised. With 
what joy one gradually convinces oneself it is coming 
towards one, and in the end has to restrain oneself" 
from embracing the always sympathetically joyful 
lantern-bearer ; and so in those twinkling lights along 
little-trodden paths, or in scattered Chinese homesteads 
of many curves and courtyards, once more the romance 
attaching to the white wax reasserts itself 

Grass-cloth is another very interesting Chinese in- 
dustry. It is produced from a nettle, and with large 
wooden things like butter-pats and a rough bamboo 
thumb-protector the women beat out the fibre on the 
threshing- or drying-floor in front of the farmsteads. 
I often wonder grass-cloth is not more common in 
England. Perhaps it lasts too long to pay to import. 
It is very cool, and like a glossy kind of linen, but 
far more durable. Cotton goods are made at home. 
They do not crease as our cottons do ; they let the 
air through like cellular goods, and are therefore very 
wholesome wear in summer ; and they last for ever. 

Ningpo carvings, fanciful and rich, but in rather 
perishable wood. Canton ivory carvings, and silks 


-»5 Ivory Fans and Fairylike Embroidery 

generally, are too well known to need description. 
Only, till I went to China, I had no idea new patterns 
of silks came out nearly every year even in that most 
conservative country, and are much sought after. Fans 
are recorded as having been used to keep the dust 
from the wheels of the chariots as far back as the 
Chow Dynasty, 1106 b.c. Ivory fans were invented 
by the Chinese 991 B.C. ; but it was not till the fifteenth 
century the folding-fan, long before invented by the 
Japanese, found its way into China. In the west of 
China it is, however, still not etiquette to carry such 
a fan to a party ; for it looks as if you had no servant 
to stand behind your chair and hold it for you when 
you do not want it. The Chinese ivory fans are carved 
all over right through till the whole looks like lace, 
the part not taken up by the design being very 
delicately cut in short perpendicular lines. 

But probably the art and industry carried to the 
greatest perfection in China is that of embroidery. 
English people do not appreciate what Chinese em- 
broideries really are, because such a quantity of work 
is done by men working at frames, and merely for so 
much a day. The best has always been done by 
ladies, working at home, and putting all the fancy of 
a lifetime into a portiere, or bed-hanging. One of 
the most fairylike pieces of embroidery I have ever 
seen was mosquito-curtains worked all over with clusters 
of wistaria for either the Emperor or Empress, and 
somehow or other bought, before being used, out of 
the Imperial Palace by a European collector. The 


Intimate China ^ 

rich yet delicate work upon the very fine silky material 
made these mosquito-curtains a thing to haunt thq 
dreams of all one's after-life. 

Whilst, however, the handiwork of the Chinese 
appears to me unsurpassed, and their colour arrange- 
ments in old days, before the introduction from Europe 
of aniline dyes, are much more agreeable to me than 
those of Japan, there seems to be nothing to satisfy 
the soul in Chinese artistic work, which gratifies the 
senses, but appeals to none of the higher part of 
man. I should, however, say quite the same of that 
of Japan, which got all its art originally from China, 
and has never, I think, quite arrived at the ancient 
dignity of Chinese art, although at the present day 
Japan's artistic work is certainly far more graceful 
and pleasing. 

One day in the neighbourhood of Shanghai we 
walked along a path where, marvellous for China, two 
people could walk abreast, and, crossing a variety of 
creeks in a variety of ways, came upon the ruins of a 
camp, finally reaching two tall chimmeys, a landmark 
in the scene. Our puzzle was what fuel they could 
possibly find to burn inside those tall chimneys. It 
turned out to be rice husks. A man sat on the ground, 
and with one hand worked a bellows, thus making 
forced draught, while with the other he threw on a tiny 
handful of rice husks, not enough to choke the bright 
flame roused by the draught. Another man weighed 
out crushed cotton seeds into a little basket, emptied 
them into a vessel on the fire till it just boiled, then 


^ A Village Industry 

emptied them again into another vessel — if you can call 
it such — a sort of frame of split bamboo twisted, kneaded 
it, all hot as it was, with his feet, and then piled it 
up ready to be pressed, always with a bit of basket- 
work flattening it on the top. We waited to see the 
cakes pressed. They were like cheeses, each with 
their twisted bamboo rings round them. When as many 
as could be were fitted into the trough, then by putting 
in wedges the bulk was reduced to rather less than 
half what it at first appeared, during which time a 
constant stream of oil was flowing through the trough. 
A man hammered the wedges, towards the end using 
a stone hammer so heavy I could only just lift it. 
It was rather amusing to see the politeness of these 
men. One of them wanted to smoke. But before 
doing so he offered his pipe both to my husband and 
to myself, quite with the air of expecting his offer 
to be accepted. I had an ulster, and they all admired 
the material of it very much, saying each in turn they 
were quite sure it was pi chi (long ells). There were 
buffaloes crushing the cotton seeds, walking round and 
round with basket-work blinkers over their poor eyes. 
Curiously enough, the heavy millstones they wheeled 
round, all of hardest granite as they were, yet were 
decorated with carvings. One had the key pattern, 
or a slightly different scroll ; also characters, very care- 
fully carved, to the effect that it was the fairy carriage 
and the dragon's wheel. 

It seemed strange to come upon this touch of 
aestheticism in this very homely sort of factory, whose 


Intimate China ^ 

whole plant must have cost so very little, and which 
was in consequence, though so well adapted for its 
purpose, yet so simple that it might well serve as an 
illustration for an elementary primer in mechanics. 
Indeed, this factory at home, and in the fresh air, 
was the very ideal Ruskin writes about, and that the 
Village Industries Society at home has lately been 
formed to realise, if yet it may be, in England. It has 
been realised during long centuries in China, and yet 
the millennium has not arrived. 

We went back through a long, crowded, flourishing 
street. At an open doorway there were young priests 
sitting inside, chanting. They had musical instruments 
and gongs. A man behind a table was very busy 
stamping envelopes such as Chinese officials use, very 
large and covered with characters. He was good 
enough to pause, and show us the letters these envelopes 
were to contain, very long and beautifully written, 
and most neatly and cunningly folded. There was 
some one very ill in the house, and these letters were 
addressed to heaven, describing circumstantially his 
sad case. They were presently to be burnt, and thus 
delivered. The lanterns with which this house was de- 
corated were blue for semi-mourning. Only a few doors 
farther off, curiously enough, we came upon a wedding. 
The doors stood wide open, and we saw a long vista 
of courtyards and ting-tzes, all with open doors, and 
at the end what I fancied were a number of smartly 
dressed servants standing. There was a band in the 
first courtyard, with the quaint, pretty-looking instru- 


■^ Dirty Wedding-chair 

ments or crocodile-skin which I had before so much 
admired in Shanghai Chinese city. Every one seemed 
so obHging, I asked to look inside the wedding-chair. 
It was remarkably smart, really beautifully embroidered 
all over outside. But, to my intense disgust,, the 
cushion on which the bride was to sit was an old 
common red cushion, worn at the corners, and actually 
dirty, and the inside of the chair had not even been 
swept out. 



Enjoyment. — Anticipation. — Regret. 

HE was only six months old when we first knew 
him, with long silky ears, and a little head 
covered with delicate yellow down, undeveloped puppy 
body, but a grand white chest, and black muzzle ; he 
had fine long moustachlos and long black eyelashes, 
from between which looked out engaging lustrous eyes 
of a singularly intelligent expression. He weighed 
just about three pounds at his utmost ; and when he 
stretched himself to his greatest length, he was only 
a hand and a half long. But his port and his attitudes 
were those of a lion, or, when engaged in worrying 
a piece of cord dangled invitingly before him, for all 
the world just like those of a Chinese monster, only 
in miniature. In some ways he was like a kitten rather 
than a puppy, so graceful and gentle in his move- 
ments, with long claws, too, at the tips of his little 
feathery feet, and a way of purring when he was 
pleased. He made many little plaintive sounds, as if 
he were talking to himself; and sometimes it almost 
seemed as if he were talking to other people too, so 
articulate were they. His tail was his weak point — it 


Little Apricot 


PEKING PUG (short-haired). 
Property of Mrs. Claude Rees 

like a puppy, and his 
It was very difficult to 

was too long. But some 
people said, that as he 
grew older it would curl 
up and look shorter. We 
do not know if this would 
have been so, nor whether 
his body might have de- 
veloped into being too 
long or too thin, or some- 
thing. In size he was 
head and chest were lovely 
avoid treading upon him, he was so small and noise- 
less in his movements. So he wore three little 
rattles round his throat, for he was too small to 
wear real Peking bells. And it was extraordinary the 
genius the little creature had for crying out before 
he was hurt, and as if he had been half killed too. 
But no one ever saw little Shing-erh — Little Apricot, 
as he was called, from his colour — put out, or angry 
about being hurt. He was always pleased, always full 
of life, ready to fall off fast asleep, or spring up wide 
awake, without a moment's notice, and never afraid of 
any person or thing. 

When bought of a Chinaman in the streets of Peking, 
he showed no distrust, but nestled at once into European 
arms, went home in them, and growled when strangers 
approached his master's door, or sprang up delighted 
to welcome his master himself He was carried about 
in a coat pocket, or sat in an office drawer, gravely 
watching the writing of manifests by the hour together ; 


Intimate China ^ 

or at times trotted gaily through the streets, ever 
and anon stopping to sniff out some to him perfectly 
delicious bit of nastiness. Who so delighted as little 
Shing-erh, when he found out he could actually run up 
the stairs to the dining-room ? And from that moment 
he was always fancying it luncheon-time or dinner-time ; 
for there was no doubt of one thing — the little sleeve- 
dog did enjoy being fed. He enjoyed caresses also. 
If he would not come when he was called, there was 
always one way to secure his attention, and that was 
to pet Wong, our other dog, a Shantung pug, about 
five times Shing-erh's size. Then the little one would 
come at once. Poor Wong! He had been used to being 
called *' Little Wong," and treated accordingly, and at 
first he growled, and even bit the new-comer. After 
that he looked heartbroken for a day or two, went home 
by himself when taken out walking, and resisted all the 
little one's efforts to draw him into a gam.e of romps, 
till an idea struck him, and he began to jump on to 
sofas and armchairs ; for did he not see the little one 
on them made much of? Once he even jumped right 
up into my lap, and tried to nestle there. And he tried 
to bite bits of cord, or our hands. But his teeth were 
very different from the tender milk-teeth of the little 
sleeve-dog, who could not bite any one if he tried. 
So these advances of his had to be summarily repelled. 
And gradually, though somewhat sadly, Wong reconciled 
himself to the situation ; submitted to everyone's offering 
the little one crumbs of delicacy, while he sat up on 
his hind legs unnoticed, although chin-chinning beauti- 


-♦> Such a Pleasure ! 

fully with his two front paws ; submitted when the little 
one bit his ears, or flew at his eyes, or pulled his tail, 
in order to attract his attention ; and even condescended 
to be played with occasionally. 

It was a great affair taking little Shing-erh out ; 
for he found the w^orld so full of interest, and would 
look round with intelligent eyes, wagging his tail, as 
much as to say, " All right ! but look what a delightful 
place I find myself in." It was impossible to be angry 
with him, though it made progress through the streets 
very slow at times. Then when one took him up and 
carried him as a sort of punishment — for he did dearly 
love to run — he would look so grave and serious, one 
longed to see him frolicking once more. The only way 
was to walk very fast ; then the four little feet would 
go galloping along, the tiny puppy bent on showing 
he could run as fast as other people. He was never 
afraid of any dog, but quite big dogs used to run away 
from him, he w^as so lionlike in his advances ; and when 
he went to pay a visit to any other dog, he always 
first drove his host into a corner with his tail between 
his legs. Then only would the little one make up to 
him, and gradually they would have a game of romps 
together. But just because we were so fond of him 
he was a great anxiety ; for any Chinaman could put him 
up his sleeve and run away with him quite easily. And 
every one took a fancy to him ; though not every one, like 
two sweet little children, asked first if they might carry 
him,. next if they might kiss puppy-dog, and finally if they 
might exchange a baby-sister of the same age for him. 

449 G G 

Intimate China ^ 

One day, holding him up for a child to stroke, I 
noticed that the little one's breath, till then always so 
sweet, smelt a little. It had been very cold coming 
up-river in the winter weather, and it was still colder 
going on, damp and raw ; and we hardly knew how 
to keep ourselves warm, much less the little puppy- 
dog. So it seemed hard to prevent him from lying 
close to the stove ; but possibly it was that which made 
him ill. Or it may have been the little bones people 
gave him on the steamers. Every one used to ask 
deferentially, "May I give the little dog this? There 
is no meat on it." But there was a little meat some- 
times, and all the while there was poor Wong begging 
unnoticed. But, then, Wong was very particular what 
he ate — he liked some things, disliked others ; while 
as to little Shing-erh, we never found out what he did 
not like to eat whilst he was well. But now we noticed 
he no longer cared to play. He would take a run 
outside for a little while, he dearly loved to forage under 
the dinner-table, and pick up stray crumbs ; otherwise 
he wanted always to be nursed, making little cooing 
sounds of satisfaction as he curled himself up on one's 
lap, his little feathery head and long ears showing off to 
great advantage as he did so. He was learning to sit 
up like Wong and beg too, and even did so sometimes 
without anything to lean his feeble puppy back against ; 
and he had almost learnt to give a paw when asked. 
We used to talk of all we were going to teach him, 
believing firmly that nothing was beyond our puppy's 
capacity. We used to think how pleasant it would be 


The Beginnings of Grief 

when our new house was built and the garden laid out. 
and the little one could run freely about in it without 
anxiety as to his being stolen. But from the day we 
arrived up-country, it became increasingly evident that 
something was amiss 
with our tiny dog. 
He could not eat 
biscuit soaked in milk, 
his regular food whilst 
in Shanghai. He re- 
fused rice, unless fish 
were mixed with it. 
He showed himself 
ravenous for fish. 
Perhaps it would 
have been wiser to 
have been guided by 
the little creature's 
preferences. But 
bones and meat were 
always very attractive 
to him, and they could 
hardly have been the best food. He did not want to run 
after the first few days, sitting down upon his haunches, 
looking very serious when set down. How the country 
people admired him, when we carried him about, calling 
him, *' Little sleeve-dog," " Cat-dog," '' Little lion," 
and asking leave to stroke him, or stroking him without 
leave. "He comes from Peking," they would say ; 
and they looked at him with pride and pleasure. 


Property of Mr. George Brown, H.B.M. Consul. 

Intimate China ^ 

At last a day came when we despaired of his life. 
A Chinaman said, " Let me take him, and nurse him. 
I think I can cure him. You see, he is a Chinese 
dog, and you do not understand how to treat him. I 
can be with him all the while." So from our great 
love for him we let him go in his little quilted 
basket, with his quilted coverlet of gay patchwork, 
and little red pillow made expressly for himself, 
because he was so fond of making a pillow of an 
arm or a hand. 

But in an hour or two he was brought back. He 
had thrown in his lot with Europeans, and the little 
Chinese dog would not eat from the hands of strange 
Chinamen, nor do anything they wished. His eyes were 
already glazed, and he seemed already half dead when 
he was brought back. So because all seemed over, and 
as if it did not matter what we did now, we held him 
quite close to the stove and poured port-wine down his 
throat. The little glazed eyes became limpid once more, 
and he looked up, content to be with us. Then I sat with 
him on my lap, thinking still of him as dead, and only 
waiting for the end. But the little dog rallied so, that 
that night, when taken upstairs, he struggled out of his 
basket on to the bed, w^here he had always loved best 
to sleep. He liked to lie there, with his little black-and- 
tan head looking so droll on the white pillow. Put 
down on the floor, for fear he should fall off — for, alas ! 
his little legs gave way under him, and he tottered once 
as he tried to cross the bed — he actually ran about the 
room, till he found the water-jug, stood up on his hind 


-^ His Dainty Ways 

legs, and deliberately dipped his pretty head into it 
and drank. 

Perhaps that draught injured him, for the Chinese 
declared cold water must be fatal to him. Anyway, 
after that his rallying power appeared to have abandoned 
him. But even then he still used to look up and listen 
with great intensity when he heard his master's step 
upon the stair, recognising that to the very last. But 
though he lingered on all the next day and night, 
and on into the next morning, he was always growing 
weaker, till at last he could not swallow the spoonfuls 
we gave him every two hours. Once or twice he had 
fits of barking ; but as he lay quite still and barked, 
we hoped he was quite happy, thinking he was fighting 
and vanquishing some other dog rather than suffering 
pain. Yet after such long drawn out dying it was a 
relief in the end when on the twelfth day up-country 
we saw the little thing lie quite still and stiff; though, 
as we looked at the graceful little head curled round 
with its two silky ears, our eyes filled with tears, and 
we felt almost as if we had lost a child. 

The little dog had been of no use, and required 
much looking after ; yet he had endeared himself to 
all who knew him. His dainty ways, his bright good 
humour, and intense pleasure in the society of his friends 
perhaps accounted for this. And yet our hearts smote 
us as, after the little one was taken from us, and we 
stooped to caress poor faithful Wong with a warmth 
to which of late he had been unaccustomed, the honest 
creature sprang on to the seat beside me with extra- 


Intimate China ^«- 

ordinary effusiveness, and began leaping about and 
catching at our hands with the exuberance of long- 
repressed affection. Next night, though provided with 
a beautiful kennel full of straw downstairs, Wong slept 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

out in the cold and rain in the courtyard outside our 
door, as he had been used to do in the old days. We 
tried to pet him, and make up for our loss by being 
additionally kind to all other dogs we saw. But when 
I see the pencil I once gave Shing-erh to gnaw, with 
all the marks of his little teeth, or his little rattles, 
the aching comes again to my heart, thinking of what 


^ Chinese Dog Companions 

might have been, and how if we had known better we 
might perhaps have preserved the Hfe of the pretty 
pet, who so implicitly trusted and relied upon us. 

As the intensest feelings ever become less intense 
if spoken about, so that in all ages the greatest danger 
has been for teachers of religious faith lest they should 
themselves cease to feel whilst infusing faith in others, 
so I have sought to take the edge off my grief by 
writing some account of little Shing-erh, aged twelve 
months when he died. Anyhow, whenever we leave 
China behind us, there will be a tenderer feeling in 
our hearts whilst thinking of the blue-gowned race, 
because of this little creature born and bred amongst 
Chinamen, and yet so engaging, so fastidious in all 
his ways, and so entirely without any fear. 

Since then Wong is dead ; and Jack, our faithful 
friend, and constant companion during nine years of 
travel, a beautiful long-haired terrier from Shantung, 
he too lies in a little grave, though his lustrous, in- 
telligent eyes haunt me still. Let no one lightly enter 
on a Chinese dog as companion ; they make themselves 
too much beloved, become too completely members of 
the family. Even Nigger, the black Chow dog that 
my husband kept before our marriage, and whose 
greeting he looked forward to all the long voyage out 
to China — even Nigger seems like a living personality 
to me, and I can hardly believe I never saw him. 
Beloved dogs, companions of a life too solitary, because 
amongst an uncompanionable race, Requiescant in pace ! 
Good-bye, Shing-erh ! good-bye. Jack ! Others may, 


Intimate China <^ 

but I can never look upon your like again. There 
must be some subtle unnoticed quality in the Chinaman 
to breed such dogs ; and the sweet little Szechuan 
ponies, miniature race-horses in form, and almost human 
in their intelligence, are fitting companions for the dogs, 
and doglike in their faithful, cheerful friendliness. 




Part I. — Getting to Peking. 

House-boat on the Peiho. — Tientsin. — -Chefoo. — 
A Peking Cart. — Camels. — British Embassy. — 
Walking on the .Walls. — Beautiful Perspectives. 

IT was in 1888 we first arrived in Peking, and we 
felt at once convinced that, whatever wonders it 
might have to offer, nothing — no! nothing could surpass 
the wonder of the journey. And when it is considered 
that every high official throughout the empire had to 
travel this same way in order to be confirmed in each 
appointment, the wonder of it is enhanced. From 
Tientsin you could always ride to Peking, if you were 
strong enough. Sir Harry Parkes did it in the day, 
the year before he died. But if not equal to riding 
eighty miles at a stretch, or eighty miles relieved (?) 
by nights at Chinese inns, you had in 1888 to travel 
the way we did, taking boat up the Peiho as far as 

We left Tientsin at two o'clock on Thursday, and 
reached Tungchow at 9 p.m. on Sunday, having been 
very lucky, as it appeared. We had a south-west 


Intimate China ^ 

wind all Friday, spinning us along certain reaches 
of the ever wriggling, rather than winding Peiho. 
Along the reverse reaches the men had to tow or 
pole us. On Saturday the wind was so high that 
we had to lie to in the middle of the day, the men 
being unable to make any way against it by towing. 
And we only made a very few miles that day. In 
the afternoon it rained, and was altogether cheerless. 
But on Sunday we had a fine westerly wind blowing 
us on. Although a river, the Peiho in this part of 
its course is decidedly more canal-like and uninteresting 
than the English canal down which I had had some 
thought of travelling the year before, till I decided 
it would be too tedious. But after all there is a charm 
about this exceedingly slow method of progression. 
The world does not really stand still with you, but 
you feel as if it did. You get interested in the boats 
you pass and meet ; some coming down stream, laden 
wuth plants in pots — two dwarf orange-trees, with 
oranges on them, I saw once — or bringing down straw 
braid, or taking up brick tea — such quantities of brick 
tea, which had, I suppose, come all the way down the 
Yangtse from poor water-beleaguered Hankow of the 
willow avenues and ravening mosquitoes, and round 
farther by sea from Shanghai to Tientsin, and whose 
progress on strings and strings of dignified camels 
Siberiawards we subsequently saw. What brick tea 
costs in the original instance I do not know. But when 
I think of the labour expended on its transport I feel 
it ought to be precious indeed to the Siberians. 



-r, On the Peiho 

Every now and then we got out and walked along 
the banks, looking backwards at the long zigzagging 
procession of boats behind us, each with one large 
sail, or at times each with a bare mast, looking like 
a long line of telegraph-poles. And beside us was 
the line of real telegraph-poles, forerunners of the 
coming railway that has since been opened ; and we 
knew that the foreigners who would approach Peking 
in the old historic manner were already numbered. 
For there will be nothing to tempt people to provide 
themselves with all the necessaries of life for a three 
or four days' trip, now that the railroad is open and 
you can book direct. There is nothing to be seen 
upon the road that cannot be seen as well elsewhere, — 
mudbanks, sandhills, millet- and sorghum-fields with 
poor crops, fairly nice trees, fences gay with convolvulus 
flowers, mud houses, mud roofs, and level mudbanks 
crowded with all the disreputable refuse of a poor 
Chinese village ; then wood-cutters (one or two 
substantial coffins stood out prominently alongside of 
them ; wood seems too precious for anything but coffins 
in those parts), a mule and a pony ploughing, or a 
donkey or an ox, never a pair of animals of the same 
kind. All these one looks at with a pleasant interest 
as one saunters or floats by. But you can see them 
elsewhere ; or you can never see them, and yet be none 
the worse for the miss. 

It is true that by the old method you could shut 
yourself into the boat cabin, and study colloquial 
Chinese according to Sir Thomas Wade, or write letters 


Intimate China ' ^ 

home to say how you were enjoying yourself, or drink 
tea, or smoke, just as your previous way of Hfe disposed 
you to act, there being no restraining influence further 
than the size of the cabin. A native boat is not quite 
as luxurious as avShanghai house-boat, though it is well 
enough, except in the matter of its being impossible to 
open the cabin door from the inside. So that when we 
were shut in, I always thought how, if the boat should 
heel over, we should be drowned inside like mice in 
a trap. Another exception must be made — not in 
favour of the cracks which grow portentously larger, 
as the boards shrink with the increasing dryness of 
the air, and which must let in an inordinate draught 
in winter, when the air is more cold than kindly. Even 
towards the end of September we found it hard 
enough to keep warm at night. We had two cabins, 
but one was pretty well all bedstead, being a raised 
ottoman sort of a place, under which boxes could be 
put, and on which mattresses were laid. We had to 
provide ourselves with everything we wanted, even to 
a cooking-stove. But then we paid only nine and a 
half dollars for our boat, including drink money. This 
at the then rate of exchange was under thirty shillings. 
The men fed themselves. So did we. It is tiresome 
that, travelling in China, nothing is to be bought by 
the way, beyond chickens and eggs, and sweet potatoes 
(delicious !) and cabbage (horrible !). It Is tiresome, 
also, that the makers of tinned things do not put 
dates upon their tins ; therefore In the outports — which 
Shanghai fine ladles always pronounce as If they were 


-»i Landing at Tientsin 

only peopled by " outcasts " — people have to put up 
with the tinned milk that somehow did not sell at 
Shanghai. It is a pity that the local representatives of 
the Army and Navy Stores do not see to this, and 
put dates on their tins. It would be well worth 
the " outcasts' " while to pay extra for recently tinned 
butter and milk, if they could rely upon the dates. 
As it was, our milk was very nearly butter, though it 
could not quite be used for that, and it certainly was 
not milk. 

The Concession at Tientsin is either so far away 
from the Chinese town, or so satisfactory to its inhabit- 
ants, that they never stray away among the Chinese. 
On landing at the bridge of boats in the native city, 
while our servants made a few purchases, I found I 
excited as much interest as if there had not been a 
European colony within a thousand miles. It was, 
however, a particularly friendly crowd that accompanied 
me. A boy danced in front, clapping his hands, as if 
to bid the people in the street make way ; another boy 
was very eager to point out all the sweet cakes he 
thought nicest ; two old women and an old man went 
down on their knees to beg ; an old man was washing 
very old shoes upon the bridge ; another was selling 
odds and ends of old things, that looked as if they 
never had been new. There were sweet potatoes 
cooking ; there were various other buyers and sellers, 
and crowds passing by, both on foot and in boats. 
Sometimes the bridge would be opened, sometimes 
closed to let the foot passengers go by. There was 


Intimate China ^ 

always a crowd ; whichever way of progress was open, 
people were always progressing by it before it was 
ready for them. Nobody pushed, nobody was rude ; 
every one appeared pleasant. But there, looking down 
the long straight reach of the river, w^as the tall 
tower of the ruined Roman Catholic Cathedral, recalling 
the massacre of 1870 — a massacre that might so easily 
have embraced all the Europeans in the Concession, 
had not the rain mercifully come down in torrents and 
dispersed the mob. It did not seem possible, when we 
were there, to think of any danger of the kind threatening 
the exceptionally thriving-looking settlement. 

I have not seen any Concession yet I liked the 
look of so well as that of Tientsin. There is a 
go-ahead look about the place, with all its goods stored 
in heaps on the Bund with only matting over them, 
instead of, as elsewhere, in warehouses ; which makes 
it contrast especially with Chefoo, that sleeping beauty, 
whom no fairy prince has yet awakened. Perhaps, 
when he does, the merry wives of China, who used 
to resort there every summer, may find it hardly as 
charming as it was in its tranquillity and freedom from 
all restraint. But it was so tranquil, so absolutely 
uneventful, that our summer month there seemed only 
like a dream to look back upon. Its coast-line is beau- 
tiful; but it is a coast-line with nothing behind it, as it 
were — like the cat's smile in Alice in Wonderland, 
a grin and nothing more. 

But it was at Tungchow in the old days that the tug 
of war in getting to Peking used to begin. You had 


^ The Last Thirteen Miles ! 

bought all your stores, and furnished your boat, and 
spent days and nights in it ; but all that was nothing to 
the great business of getting to Peking. There were 
thirteen miles yet to do, and the question was. How did 
you mean to try to get over them ? My own firm 
conviction now is that the easiest way would have been 
to get up very early in the morning and walk. But as 
it was, I came into Peking in the traditional style, feet 
foremost in a springless cart, holding on hard to either 
side. We started at eleven in the morning from Tung- 
chow, paused for an hour at a wayside inn to eat and 
rest, and did not reach Peking till six, only just before 
the gates were closed. At first starting I thought the 
accounts of the road had been exaggerated. It is true 
it was so dusty at intervals I was more reminded of a 
London fog than anything else. It is true I could not 
leave go with either hand without getting a tremendous 
bump on the head. But still I did not think the road 
was quite as bad as I had expected. Alas ! the road 
was so bad we had not started by it at all, but were 
simply getting along by a way the carts had made for 
themselves. At Pa-li Chiao we came upon the real 
grand stone road, with the grand bridge made by the 
Ming Dynasty — when they moved their capital from 
Nanking to Peking, in order better to repel invading 
Tartar hordes — and never in the centuries since repaired 
by the Tartar horde of Manchus, who at once conquered 
them, when they thus obligingly put themselves within 
easy reach at the very extreme limit of their vast 

465 HH 

Intimate China ^ 

There was the road, with huge blocks of stone, 
some of them five feet long, and wide and thick in 
proportion, but sometimes worn away, sometimes clean 
gone. Now to hold on like grim death ! How the^ 
smartly varnished little carts with their blue tops kept 
together at all I cannot imagine. But I know I 

immensely re- 
spected the mule 
that could pull us 
into and out of the 
holes and ruts, into 
which we dropped 
with a veritable 
concussion, not a 
jolt. Of course it 
was a new sensa- 
tion — but a new 
sensation it can do 
no one any good 
to experience ; and 
before I had had 
half an hour of it 
I had had enough, 
and asked for a 
donkey. However, the donkey brought was so tiny that, 
after a rest on its poor little thin back, I tried the cart 
again. The road did not seem quite so bad as before, 
until we got nearer the capital. Then — then I got out 
and walked. There was no help for it. And walking 
was decidedly less fatiguing. But an increasing crowd 


By Mrs. Archibald Little, 

^^ Carts, Donkeys, Mules, and Camels 

followed me. Every one spoke to me — I hope compli- 
mentarily. Men selling clothes waved them at me, and 
sang to invite purchase. It was hard work to avoid the 
carts, and donkeys, and mules, and camels, and men 
carrying things, and Manchu women with feet of the 
natural size, violently rouged faces, and hair made up 
into teapot handles, sticking out quite six inches behind 
their heads, or made into stiff wings, projecting about 
three inches on either side, and always with flowers 
stuck into their hair. It was hard work to avoid all 
these, and to keep up with the carts, and disagreeable to 
be choked and smothered in dust, and to feel oneself all 
the while appearing to every one as an escaped lunatic — 
ploughing through dust on one's own feet, instead 
of being driven along properly. But anything was 
better than jolting along that road till the great mock 
fortress came into view. We were about to enter the 
gates. The crowd there was too great to try to press 
through ; so I climbed into the cart once more, and thus 
entered Peking comme ilfaut, in a springless cart. 

It is the custom to say the road to Peking from 
Tungchow is desperately uninteresting. It may be so. 
I feel I ought hardly to hazard an opinion, for I was 
afraid to leave my eyeglasses dangling, and thus only 
once or twice managed both to get them out and up to 
my eyes sufficiently steadily to see through them ; but 
to my shortsighted gaze there appeared to be a constant 
series of interesting graves and gateways and monsters, 
which I longed to examine more closely. Then the 
long procession of camels carrying brick tea northwards, 


Intimate China ^ 

or coming south empty to fetch it, did not become 
monotonous, even after I had seen some thousands or 
more of them. The men riding upon them had hand- 
kerchiefs tied in a very simple way, which, however, 
I at once saw was the original of the old homely 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

English sun-bonnet. The men walking by their sides 
had conical oil-paper hats, which were equally evidently 
the original of the Nice hats of my youth. They had 
even red linings to them, such as I had so often worn 
myself in Europe, and three little spots of black, whose 
nature I could not quite make out, but which on my 
hats used to be represented by three little stars of 
black velvet. I had always thought a Nice hat looked 


^ Peking Camels 

Chinese, and, since I came to China, that it would be 
the very thing to wear in summer ; and now here 
1 found these camel-drivers wearing the old original 
model, which probably the Jesuits carried over long 
ago to North Italy. 

The camels placed their springy hoofs softly on the 
hard, stony road. Those that wore bells carried their 
arched necks high. Their grave eyes looked down 
kindly on the clouds of dust. Between their two humps 
rode a man, as in a natural saddle. Their yellow necks 
shone in the slanting rays of the sun, while the great 
tufts of hair at the tops of their legs stood out darkly. 
I thought I should grow tired of them, but I had not 
even by the time we had reached the gate of Peking, 
at the end of our long day's travel of thirteen miles. 

" Is this inside the city or outside the city ? " I asked 
at last of my stout carter, when we seemed to have 
been travelling an interminable distance through roads 
rather like Clapham Common, if there were no grass 
upon it, and two rows of booths cutting it into three 
divisions — two of booths and one of road — so wide and 
uncared for and wildernesslike was this last. " Inside 
the city," answered he haughtily. I felt as if I had 
been very rude to ask, and longed to apologise, if I 
had hurt his feelings. But the road was so unlike a 
city street. It was like a large caravanserai, or like the 
encampment of a savage tribe. The shops that skirted 
the road had gaily gilded fronts, and every now and 
then a shopkeeper sent out men to scoop up the liquid 
hlth at either side, and sprinkle It upon the dust by 


Intimate China ^ 

way of somewhat keeping it down. The smell resulting 
left nothing to be desired. Long before we reached 
Peking I had decided that the Chinese were a docile, 
peaceable nation of traders, overrun by a northern horde 
so incurably barbarous, that not even centuries of con- 
tact with the Chinese had been able to civilise them, 
though it might have made them so effeminate that 
they would soon become effete. I now began to 
wonder how long Peking could go on accumulating 
filth within Its walls without breeding a Black Death 
or other awful pestilence. 

We drove on and on. At last we turned down 
a very disreputable, dilapidated sort of mews ; and 
there was the French Embassy to the right, very smart 
in fresh paint ; the Japanese Embassy, very perky, with 
a European gateway ; the German Embassy, dignified 
and fresh painted. Round the corner stood the English 
Embassy, with a massive but somewhat jail-like portal. 

In the Middle Ages It often seems as If It must 
have been very pleasant for the lords and ladles. And 
in Peking it Is very pleasant to live In a ducal palace. 
From the moment the Embassy servant stepped forward 
with a fly-flap, and courteously flapped the dust off 
our boots, everything was charming. We never wished 
to go outside again to face that vile mews, with its 
holes, Its dust. Its smells. We forgot all about It, 
as we looked at the stately perspective of the inner 
entrance of the Palace, — Its ceilings richest blue and 
brilliant green, relieved by golden pomegranates and 
dragons ; its mortised beams projecting, all highly 

470 . 

^ Beautiful British Embassy 

painted, green, red — green, red. Not a sound pene- 
trated within its sheltered courtyards. The wood- 
carvings were beautiful, the galleries long enough to 
satisfy all desire for walking. The Chinese decorations 
satisfied our eyes. At last — at last we had come 
upon something Oriental in China, aesthetic, eye-satis- 
fying. At the same time we were surrounded by 


By Mr. Stratford Dugdale. 

every English comfort, enjoying delightful English 
society ! Why ever go outside the Embassy compound ? 
Could Peking possibly have anything to show worth 
encountering such horrors as those of its entry, a 
survival from those Middle Ages so agreeable to read 
about, so disagreeable to live in ? 

But one evening we took the one Peking walk, 
along the summit of the walls. There was somethine 
pathetic, as well as ludicrous, in thinking of European 
attaches and their wives, European diplomatists and 


Intimate China ^ 

their famiHes, having for a pleasure-walk the walls of 
Peking. The horrors of the approach to them can 
only be realised by those who know what the entourage 
of the walls of a Chinese city is generally like. They 
cannot be described in a book, that may lie on an 
English drawing-room table. Arrived at the top, you 
find a wilderness of thorns and plants and trees, and 
there in and out amongst them a narrow way, along 
which a lady can barely manage to walk without tear- 
ing her dress. From the walls you see the yellow 
roofs of the Imperial Palace buildings within the inner 
wall, inside the Forbidden City. And you wonder what 
it must be like to be a Chinese Emperor, brought up 
under one of those yellow roofs, and never allowed 
outside that Forbidden City, except for a ceremonial 
visit to a temple, to pray for rain or fine weather. 
You see the green-tiled roofs of the princely ducal 
buildings, far more effective than the yellow by the 
evening light. On the one side you look at the " Out- 
side City," the China town ; on the other the *' Inside 
City," the Tartar town, where the Embassies, etc., are. 
In the centre of this last, four-square, is placed the 
Forbidden Imperial City. Then you look out into the 
distance upon the western hills, beautiful in the sun- 
set light. But it is fast growing dark. As we came 
out, the sun was still too hot to be pleasant. Now 
already it is too dark to discern distant objects. We 
turn back to that oasis in the wilderness of Peking, 
that fairy palace, the Ying-kuo Fu. We reach once 
more the beautiful perspective, that makes us long for 


^ Blue, Green, and Gold Perspective 

the British Minister to stand in state with his following, 
holding a reception of Chinese mandarins, that we 
might see them all grouped according to their dignities 
against such a picturesque background. Then looking 
at the blue and green and golden dragon beams, at 
the sunshine and the stillness of the courtyards, we 
feel inclined, like Germans, to evolve the rest of Peking 
out of our own inner consciousness. Oh, rest ye> 
brother-mariners, we will not wander more ! 

Part II. — The Sights of Peking. 

Tibetan Buddhism. — Yellow Temple. — Confucian 
Temple. — Hall ,of the Classics. — Disgraceful Be- 
haviour. — Observatory. — Roman Catholic Cathedral. 
— Street Sights. — British Embassy. — Bribes. — 
Shams. — Saviour of Society. — Sir Robert Hart. 

The " sights " of Peking have not been on view of 
late years. It seems a pity, considering how many 
people have travelled thither hoping to see them. 
And yet I am not sure that it is not a relief. It seems 
a duty one owes oneself to go and see those one can, 
and the people even at those behave with an insolence 
and indecorum such as I am not quite sure if even 
seeing the sight makes up for. Anyway, the Temple 
of Heaven has been closed of late years — that Temple 
in which to this day worship is offered by the Emperor 
on behalf of his people, in accordance with a ritual 
more ancient than any other still in use. The Temple 
of Agriculture is closed ; ditto the Clock Tower and 


Intimate China ^ 

the Bell Tower ; ditto, they say, all that remains of 
the Summer Palace. Even the Examination Hall we 
could not succeed in getting into. Whilst his one 
great friend advised us not to attempt the Lamaseral, 
where the living Buddha In Peking resides, such a 
set of rowdies are the Lamas. They demand exor- 
bitant sums for opening each fresh gate ; they lay 
forcible hands upon visitors, and finally demand what 
they please for letting them out again. That very 
thrilling tale of horrors " The Swallows' Wing" Is only 
a little heightened version of what a traveller who 
went In might have to undergo. We rode up to the 
gate, and the expression of the Lamas outside, who 
thought we were coming In, was enough for me. I 
have studied the expressions of Neapolitan priests, 
but they do not compare for vlleness with those of these 
Lamas : the Lamas, too, look fierce — fierce, coarse, and 
insolent. They of course redouble their demands and 
Insolence, when ladies are among the visitors. The 
living Buddha himself can only be approached In the 
guise of a tribute-bearer bringing offerings : a bottle 
of brandy, a pound of sugar, and a tin of Huntley & 
Palmer's mixed biscuits, sugared, are said to be the 
most acceptable. And we considered sending this 
information to Messrs. Huntley & Palmer for adver- 
tising purposes. But even with the biscuits and the 
brandy there has to be a good deal of arrangement, all 
of which demands time. And, after all, the living 
Buddha is only occasionally en statue ; at other times 
he receives like any other Tibetan. And whether one 



Horrible Travesties of Divinity 

cares to associate with Tibetans at all, except for 
missionary purposes, is a question. That Buddhism, 
which with the Chinese is so pure and humane a 
religion, they have transformed into something so gross, 
it seems their very gods are unfit to look upon ; the 
God of Happy Marriage impossible to show to a lady, 
as said the Russian gentleman who had made a 
collection of images, Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan ! 
Chinese images are all fit for any one to see, as their 
classics are fit for any one to read ; Indian images are 
questionable ; but about Tibetan there seems no question 
at all, and he simply asked me to advance no farther 
into his museum, as my husband examined them. It 
was impossible for me even then not to think that 
living surrounded by those horrible emblems of divinity, 
his whole drawing-room full of them, must have some 
effect upon the unhappy man's character. As I stood 
among them, an evil influence seemed to emanate from 
them, and the subsequent career of their unhappy 
collector confirms the theory ; for but a few years 
later he was dismissed from the Chinese Customs for 
some crime too bad to mention, dying shortly after- 
wards. The collection has been bought by a German 
museum. Let us hope those dreadful Tibetan images 
are not now poisoning the minds of blue-eyed Germans. 
Tibetan musical instruments for sacred purposes 
are made of virgins' bones (the virgins killed expressly, 
we were told, but I doubt this) ; their sacred pledge- 
cups, of human skulls. They prefer necklaces each 
bead of which is made out of a tiny portion of a 


Intimate China ^ 

human skull, thus each bone representing a human life. 
Their idols are represented as wearing human skins,, 
with girdles hung with human heads. So much as 
this I w^as allowed to see in this wonderful collection 
of gods and praying-machines, where meekly pious 
or coarsely jocund Chinese images sit cheek-by-jowl 
with graceful, slender Indian deities, and cruel, 
devilish Tibetan images. After all, no nation's con- 
ception of God can be higher than the nation ; but 
it is at least, as a rule, supposed to be as high. 
Judging them by their idols, it was better, I thought 
then, to keep out of the way of Tibetan Lamas — little 
thinking it was to be my good fortune in subsequent 
years to penetrate into Tibet itself, nor how rudely 
there I should find the Lamas treat me. 

Even the tomb erected to the Banjin Lama at the 
Hoang Ssu (Yellow Temple) repelled me, in spite of 
intricate marble carvings, considered well worth the 
seeing. The workmanship was good, but the outline 
was simply hideous. Not even purple-blue sky, and 
golden sunshine, and old fir-trees, with golden-balled 
persimmons nestling beside them, relieved it from its 
native ugliness. But alongside of it was a great two- 
storied building in true Chinese style, that we indeed 
admired. It stood four-square, with a grandly massive 
porte-cochere, answering all the purposes of a verandah,, 
so vast was it. We looked at the simple, graceful 
curves of its two stories of roofs, the upper definitely 
but only slightly smaller than the lower, and wished 
that, when it fell to our lot to own a house in China,. 



-Pi The Most Ancient Hall of the Classics 

it might be after this model. For two stories seem 
advisable for health, and nothing could surpass in roof- 
grace those grand curves, modelled, it is said, upon 
the upturning boughs of forest trees, though more 
probably upon the tent of former ages. 

The Confucian Temple, where there are tablets to 
Confucius and his four great followers, may be called 
a satisfactory sight, and has remained open of late 
years. Viewed as a picnic place, it is delightful. The 
vast courts, with their old, old fir-trees, gave me far 
more pleasure even than the marble balustrades, or 
the ancient granite so-called drums we had gone to 
see. But even there the behaviour of the people was 
what anywhere else one would call insolent in the 
extreme. The importunity, sores, and dirt of the 
Peking gamins render them also a detestable entourage. 
Things reached their climax, however, at the Hall 
of the Classics. The open door was as usual banged 
to in our faces, as we came near ; and we were then 
asked through the closed door how much we would 
give to get in. Then as soon as we got in, all the 
detestable rabble following us were let in too, much 
though I begged they might be kept out. I do not 
think I had up to that time seen anything so neglected 
and dilapidated as the Hall of the Classics, the build- 
ing in all China which one would most expect to see 
kept in good order, nothing being so much esteemed 
in China as learning, and especially the learning of 
the ancients. Some workmen, with almost no clothing, 
were apparently employed in making it dirtier ; but 


Intimate China ^ 

directly we entered they left off doing whatever it was, 
and devoted themselves to horse-play of the coarsest 
description, standing upright on their hands, pirouetting 
their feet over the heads of the crowd who came in 
with us, knocking some of them down, and rolling them 
in the dust. They even went so far as to sit down 
in their more than semi-nude condition on the same 
bench on which I was sitting, and as near me as 
possible ; whilst all the while there was such a shout- 
ing and noise, it was impossible for my husband and 
me to speak to one another. 

It is all very well to remind oneself one is in the 
presence of a great work, and to try and feast one's 
soul upon proportions and perspectives in the presence 
of such lewd behaviour of people of the baser sort. 
To put it prettily, I was distracted by a great pity for 
people whose chances in life seemed to have been so 
small ; in plainer English, my temper began to rise. 
The porcelain arch we had come to see was certainly 
beautiful, a masterpiece, but not soul-satisfying. We 
duly noticed the elaborate eaves, protected by netting 
from the birds. But then came the usual question : 
How much would we pay to get out ? They locked 
the door in our faces, demanding more money before 
they would let us out. My husband could stand no 
more. He was just recovering from a dangerous 
illness ; but he took up a big beam, and smashed 
open the door. It fell, lintel and all, and the latter 
so nearly killed a child in its fall the crowd was 
awed. This just gave us time to get on our 


^ Dirt ! Dust ! and Disdain ! 

donkeys. Then Babel broke loose again, and the 
storm continued till we had ridden half an hour away, 
our donkey-men nearly indulging in a stand-up fight 
in the end, one of them brandishing at the other a 
very gracefully carved sceptre, that 1 had just picked 
up at a fair, to my intense delight. ''A nice fellow 
you are," shouted one to the other. '' You ate up all 
the biscuits, and now you don't know the road You 
are worth nothing at all." So that was the way the 
biscuits had disappeared : the donkey-men had levied 
toll on our luncheons, and we had suspected the 
Peking gamins. As there are other porcelain arches 
in Peking, it might be as well for other visitors to 
avoid the Hall of the Classics altogether, we thought. 

It is horrible to write expressing so much dissatis- 
faction in the presence of the far-famed masterpieces 
of a great empire, and the more so as we were very 
sorry to be leaving Peking, and should much have 
liked to spend a winter there, studying it all more 
thoroughly. But Sir Harry Parkes, when he came 
back to it, said it was returning to "Dirt! Dust! and 
Disdain ! " and the only objection the passing traveller 
would be likely to make to this sentence is that it 
might contain a few more D's. 

The Observatory is a delightful sight — always barring 
the behaviour of the custodian, the most loathsome 
wretch I had yet encountered. And he wanted to 
feel me all over ; did feel all over the Legation 
Secretary who kindly accompanied us, finally ransacking 
his pockets for more money than he had thought needful 

481 1 1 

Intimate China ^ 

to bestow upon him. The weird, writhing bronze stands 
of the old instruments, with their redundancy of carving, 
will be for ever imprinted on my brain. Both those 
that stand below in a neglected courtyard, and those 
high above the wall, standing out against the sky, 
commanding the great granaries and the lovely moun- 
tains of the west, with the whole city of Peking lying 
in between, its courtyards filled with fine trees, giving 
the whole ^the aspect of a vast park rather than a 
populous city — all are beautiful. These wonderful in- 
struments were made under the instructions of the old 
Jesuits, who so nearly won China to Christianity (would 
have done so, probably, but for the jealousy of the other 
religious orders), and who were for years the guides 
and counsellors of the Chinese Emperors. As to the 
outside of the pavilions within the Forbidden City, all 
one was allowed to see of them then, the glittering 
yellow Imperial roofs are like my childish idea of a 
fairy palace. There they stand upon their hills, dotted 
about among the trees, so glittering and graceful, I 
thought I should never tire of riding past the Green 
Hill, across the Marble Bridge. 

The Roman Catholic Fathers, who have for cen- 
turies lived under the shadow of the Imperial Palace, 
were having then to turn out before the New Year, 
as also the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, with their 
Innumerable foundling children. For It was said that 
the Empress herself intended to reside in the Fathers' 
European house. It was she who originally so objected 
to the high towers of the church, as destructive of 


Lent by Mr. PVilleit. 

-»5 Collection of Birds 

Fung shui. Then she was saying she observed ever 
since they were built she had been particularly fortunate, 
and she begged that church and towers and organ might 
be handed to her intact, together with Pere Armand 
David's valuable collection of birds. Fortunately, there 
are counterparts of these in Paris, for it was feared she 
might give one specimen to one favoured courtier and 
one to another, and thus destroy the whole value of 
the collection. For the shrewd Father, observing the 
extraordinary pride of the Chinese heart, beside their 
own somewhat demure-coloured birds and butterflies, 
had placed a collection of the most gorgeous specimens 
from Brazil and Java, that he might say drily, when 
showing Chinese officials round, " See how favoured 
are the other nations of the earth ! " From the towers 
the Empress may possibly intend to look down upon 
the Palace garden, as no one hitherto has been allowed 
to do. For the Fathers were only allowed to retain 
their cathedral on condition that no one ever mounted 
the towers, from which a bird's-eye view can be 
obtained of nearly the whole Palace garden. The 
church, it was then announced, she would use as an 
audience hall, and, it was added, receive foreigners 
in it. But such great changes as this have not yet 
come about in Peking. No people better than Chinese 
understand saying they will do a thing, and yet not 
doing it. 

But, whatever happens in it, Peking, as long as it 
exists, can never lose its character of a great caravanserai, 
in which one is always coming upon the unexpected. 


Intimate China ^ 

For instance, a Red Button's funeral, as we saw it one 
day, with about a hundred of the greatest ruffians, 
misshapen, patched, tattered or naked, hideous, yet 
rejoicing in being employed, each with a long red 
feather stuck strangely upright in the oldest-looking 
Jim Crow sort of felt hat, carrying a banneret or a 
parasol ; the red chair of the official carried aloft ; then 
afterwards paper images of his wives, etc. ! Or, if not 
a dignitary's funeral, one comes across a bird market, 
every man with a well-trained, red-throated bird sitting 
on a stick, crooked like a magnified note of interrogation, 
or a hooded hawk. Then a street row — filth unutterable ! 
Perhaps a hundred camels sitting in little rings round 
their baggage, and not obstructing traffic in the least ; 
elegant curios laid out in the dust of the street for 
sale ; three carts all at once stuck in the same rut, 
all their horses and mules resting, panting, after vain 
efforts to get them out ; Manchu women, with natural 
feet, very long silk gowns of the most villainously 
tawdry hue ; or mandarins in exquisitely coloured silks, 
with only two wheels to their carts, and those far 
behind it, so as to indicate their dignity, twenty gaily 
clad retainers trotting after them on ponies ! At one 
moment squalor and filth, such as to make one think 
of St. Giles's as cleanly by comparison ; at the next or 
at the same moment gorgeous shop-fronts, all of the 
finest carving, with most brilliant gilding. 

But of all the sights on view in Peking, the finest 
sight to my mind was the British Legation — a grand 
old Chinese palace, at that time perfectly kept up, and 


^ Sad Object-lesson 

gorgeous in colouring, deepest blue, pure green, golden - 
dragoned, and lighted up with vermilion touches. 
Whether one looked at the mortised beams, projecting 
outside as well as inside, and thus forming the most 
complex, highly coloured eaves, or at the decorated 
beams in the reception-rooms, each one a revelation 
of colour to a London art-decorator, the eye was alike 
perfectly satisfied. And at that time, owing to the 
exquisite taste of the then British Minister's wife, as 
also probably to the liberality of Sir John Walsham 
himself, the decorations of the Embassy thoroughly 
harmonised with its architecture and colouring. If 
Peking outside was an embarrassment of D's, the 
Legation was then all cleanliness, comfort, and charm. 

One cannot help reflecting sadly on what an object- 
lesson the capital conveys to all the innumerable 
ofificials who have to travel thither, as also to the 
crowds of young men who go there year after year 
to compete for the highest honour to be obtained by 
competition — admission to the Hanlin College. When 
the distances are considered in an empire about as 
big as Europe, and also the difficulties of travel in a 
country without roads and without railways, it is the 
more astonishing this custom was ever started and can 
still be kept up. Each expectant is mulcted in a heavy 
sum, as bribes to the officials about the Palace. Thus 
the rabble of Peking live by tribute from the whole 
empire. And so rooted is the custom, even the 
gatekeeper at the British Legation would demand his 
toll, whilst the sums that have been paid to get into 


Intimate China ^ 

the Imperial Palace often run into six figures. And all 
who come to Peking know how things are administered 
there by bribery and corruption, and see for themselves 
that nothing there is cleaned, nothing ever put in order. 
As Sir Robert Hart himself says, but for the clouds 
of dust continually kept in movement by the winds, 
and brought in from the ever-increasingly impoverished 
country round, they must have been all dead men in 
Peking long ago. The dust serves as a great dis- 
infectant, whilst it so permeates all clothing worn there, 
that no dress in which one has once gone out in 
Peking seems fit ever to put on again for any other 

Peking is probably the only large city in the whole 
world where no arrangements whatever are made for 
sanitation or even for common decency. The result is 
alike startling and disgusting to the traveller. But on 
inquiry it becomes even worse. There were drains — 
sewers — in the time of the Ming Emperors, and it is 
now the duty of a special official to report upon their 
condition every year, and see that they are kept in 
order. But the drains are all closed up ; and though a 
boy in peculiar clothing is let down into them each year, 
as it were at one end, it is another boy, though in 
the same peculiar clothing, who is taken out at the 
other end. 

China is the land of shams and middle-men, and 
the official from the country sees all this, and, sore 
with the undue lightening of his own purse, goes home, 
having learnt his lesson to exact bribes himself, and 


-^ Shams, and Foreign Office 

himself rest satisfied with shams, and report all in order, 
when he knows that it is not so. Far from feeling 
ashamed of the state the roads in his own province have 
got into, he remembers those of Peking, that are so 



By Mrs. Archibald Little. 

much worse. Indeed, through all the country, since 
the incoming of the Manchu Dynasty, it has been the 
deliberate official intention to neglect the roads, thus 
making it the more difficult for the people to assemble 
together and revolt against their alien rulers. Probably, 
too, he sees the Tsung-li Yamen, the office created of 
late years in order to transact business with European 
nations. Tsung-li Yamen sounds well, but the building 


Intimate China ^ 

is a dirty, dilapidated shed, that might pass muster for 
a cowhouse on an English gentleman's estate, if it were 
cleaned and fresh painted. To the Chinese mind this 
building being set apart to hold interviews wath the 
representatives of Foreign Powers sufficiently indicates 
in what esteem they are held by his Government, and 
what amount of courtesy he is intended to mete out 
to them. 

The foreigner, on the other hand, travels away, having 
learnt his lesson too, if he be of a reflective mind, and 
that is, very briefly, that there is no hope for China 
under the present dynasty. The Manchus may have 
been a very fine people when they first entered China ; 
but since then they have lived like gentlemen, according 
to the common saying, not earning their living, but as 
pensioners of the State, nominally ready to be called 
out to fight, if wanted, in time of war. They do not 
enter into business, they do not study, and they have 
lost their martial qualities and become as effeminate as 
Chinamen. The Chinese Empire has been decaying 
ever since it came into their hands ; and ever since I 
have known China the Chinese have been saying the 
Manchu Dynasty has ruled its appointed number of 
years, and that it is now high time for what they 
call a Saviour of Society to appear, as so often in 
the past. 

This Saviour of Society would probably have appeared 
long ago, but for the help the nations of Europe, and 
especially England, have given towards the centralisa- 
tion of China. In the old days it is true the Viceroys 


^ Our Policy in the Past 

were appointed from Peking ; but each Viceroy ruled 
pretty well as he pleased in his own province, with his 
own exchequer, his own army, and his own navy. We 
found it inconvenient to deal with so heterogeneous a 
mass without any definite head, and threw our weight 
into the scale of the Chinese Empire. First we helped 
to crush the Taiping rebellion, which but for our 
intervention would probably have succeeded, and by 
force have made the Chinese people at least nominal 
Christians. Then through Sir Robert Hart the different 
Viceroys have been impoverished ; the money that in 
former times would have gone to their private purses 
or to the administration of their provinces has been 
diverted to Peking. The theory was that it would be 
used for the good of the nation. But probably we shall 
some day know how much the Empress has used for 
her private pleasures, according to the recent indictment 
of her by the one great incorruptible Viceroy, Chang- 
chih-tung, and how much has been absorbed by Li 
Hung-chang, and all the army of Palace eunuchs and 

The Chinese are a people of traders, and patient ; 
they look on, and say mentally, *' No belong my pigeon," 
that is, '' Politics are not my business." But they 
dislike the Empress ; they know the young Emperor 
has been used merely as a puppet ; and as to the idea 
of a Chinese Empire, it is one that has never made its 
way into their heads. And thus it is a grave question, 
when in the last Chino-Japanese war all the great 
Yangtse was a moving procession of junks piled high 


Intimate China ^ 

with human braves, their pigtails coiled about their 
heads, and their black head kerchiefs giving them 
somewhat a piratical air, whether these men of Hunan 
ever meant to fight the Japanese. They would have 
been ready enough to fight the men of Anhui ; and 
when the European settlement of Shanghai found itself 
between a regiment of either force, the position was 
so evidently critical, that very urgent remonstrances 
had to be addressed to the Chinese authorities to move 
away either one force or the other. But the Hunan 
men never fought the Japanese, and it remains a 
question whether they ever intended doing so. 

Even the passing foreigner must feel at Peking 
that it is not the throbbing heart of a great country, 
as London is, as Paris is ; but the remains of the 
magnificent camp of a nomad race, that has settled 
down, and built in stone after the fashion in which in 
its wanderings it used to build in wood. 




The Emperor at the Temple of Heaven. — Mongol 
Princes wrestling. — Imperial Porcelain Manufactory. 
— Imperial Silk Manufactory. — Maids of Honour.— 
Spring Sacrifices. — Court of Feasting. —Hunting 
Preserves. — Strikes. — Rowdies. — Young Men to be 
prayed for. 

ALMOST all we can know of the Emperor of China 
is by hearsay. He lives in his Palace inside 
the Forbidden City, which again is inside the Manchu 
City, separated from the Chinese City, where are the 
lovely, gilded curio shops. When he goes abroad, 
which he never does, except to worship at the temples, 
all the people are ordered to keep within-doors, and 
the most any outsider can do is to peep at him 
through the crack of a door or from behind a curtain. 
But as I think some details of his State may be inter- 
esting to the general reader, and indeed would well 
repay thinking over, I have extracted an abridged 
translation from a Chinese newspaper's account of the 
present Emperor Kwang-shti's visit to the Temple of 
Heaven in t888, when, it must be remembered, he 
was only a boy between sixteen and seventeen. Those 
who do not care for the accounts of pageants can 


Intimate China ^ 

easily skip it. Those who read it will, however, learn 
much of Chinese usage therefrom, and will perhaps 
better realise how remarkable must be the character 
of the lad who, brought up from the age of four as 
the central figure in such ceremonies, yet dared to 
place himself at the head of the party of progress, 
and to introduce innovations. People in England, 
angry with him for being overcome, think he must 
be a young man of weak character. But contrast him 
with one of our European princes, read what he has 
attempted, which I hope to describe in a following 
chapter, and then decide which is the stronger charac- 
ter. Kwang-shli has always been of weak physique — 
not unnaturally, considering that he has never known 
what it is to go out into the country, and take free, 
healthy exercise. But probably this has been his salva- 
tion. Had he been a young man of strong physique, 
he could never, probably, have withstood the promptings 
of his own nature, together with those temptations of 
wine and women, by which he has been surrounded 
from his earliest years. That he should not have 
taken proper precautions for his own protection and 
that of his supporters is hardly wonderful, considering 
that from babyhood he has been treated as too 
august a personage even to be seen. Probably he 
had learnt to believe his will was law, and must be 
executed. It is little wonder if he now looks ill and 
his wife sorrowful, even if the suspicions of poison 
be unfounded. 

''On February 20th, 1888, the Emperor of China 


-^ Emperor visiting the Temple of Heaven 

went in person to the Temple of Heaven to pray for 
the harvest, with the usual ceremonies. The day before 
his Majesty passed in the Hall of Abstinence, in 
prayer, fasting, and meditation. 

•' On February 19th, at the fifth drum (the fifth 
watch, before daylight), the T*ai Ch'ang Sze (a high 
bureau entrusted with the arrangement of such cere- 
monials) placed a Yellow Table (the Imperial colour) 
in the Hall of Great Harmony, the T*ai-hwo Tien. 
South of the Emperor's seat was placed an incense- 
burner, shaped like a small pavilion ; and in another 
similar erection, east of the left-hand pillars, stood a 
scroll, on which a sentence of prayer was painted in 
the choicest caligraphy. To the west of the right-hand 
pillars of the building stood yet another pavilion, to 
contain the mounted rolls of silk, which were painted 
with similar inscriptions. The Masters of Rites and 
the Readers of Prayers stood respectfully waiting outside 
the gate of the Hall of Great Harmony, holding in 
front of them the silken scrolls in baskets and the 
incense in bronze censers. 

" The Chief of the Ceremonial Bureau, already men- 
tioned, called by Mr. Mayers the Court of Sacrificial 
Worship, accompanied by other officers of the Bureau, 
was waiting inside the Hall ; and when the time arrived, 
he proceeded, with the Imperial Astronomer, to the 
Gate of Pure Heaven, to announce to the Emperor 
that it was two quarters of the Hour of the Hare 
{i.e. 6.30 a.m.), and his Majesty issued from the above- 
named gate, riding in a sedan-chair, passed through 

497 KK 

Intimate China ^ 

the back left gate, and thus to the Hall of Great 
Harmony, where his sedan-chair was deposited at the 
northern steps, and he entered the building and stood 
in front of the left pillars, facing the west. 

" Four officials of the Hanlin, or Imperial Academy 
of Literature, were standing outside the right-hand door 
of the building, facing east. The Readers of Prayers 
now issued from the inner cabinet, holding in front 
of them, respectfully elevated, prayers written on scrolls 
of paper, and entered the middle gate of the Hail of 
Great Harmony, the silken scrolls and incense being 
borne after them into the Hall. In front of them 
were borne a pair of incense-burners. The Masters 
of Rites, ten in number, conducted them, preceding 
them, and mounted the central steps as far as to the 
Vermilion Dais. The Readers of Prayers, those who 
bore the prayer-scrolls, and the bearers of silken 
scrolls and incense, having entered the central gate 
of the Hall, reverently laid down their burdens one 
by one on the Yellow Table, and retired after three 
k^otows (prostrations), touching the ground with the 

" The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice then opened 
a prayer-scroll, and the Master of Rites spread a cushion 
on the ground. The Emperor advanced in front of 
the Yellow Table, and reverentially inspected the objects 
lying on it, after which he performed the genuflection 
called ' once kneel and thrice Motow^ and then took 
up his position again, standing as before. The Chief 
of the Court of Sacrifice rolled up the prayer-scroll 


^ Ascending the Great Jade Palanquin 

again, and the cushion on which the Emperor had just 
knelt was removed. 

" The Readers of Prayers now advanced to the 
Yellow Table, and made three Motows. They respect- 
fully took from the table and bore aloft the prayer- 
scrolls, the silken scrolls, and the incense, which they 
deposited one by one in the graceful pavilionlike 
stand meant to receive them. With three more k^otows, 
they retired. 

" The mandarin in charge of the incense now carried 
a box full of incense to the incense-stand, placed it 
gently there, and withdrew. 

"The bearers of the prayer-scrolls then left the edifice 
by the central door, the stand containing the incense 
preceding them, and that which contains the silken 
scrolls following behind. The Chief of the Court of 
Sacrifice, kneeling, informed the Emperor that this part 
of the solemn rite w^as over. 

"His Majesty mounted his sedan-chair again, and 
returned to the Palace. 

" The clock struck 9 a.m., and the Emperor, in dragon 
robe and a cap of ermine surmounted by a knob of 
crimson velvet, issued from the Palace gate called the 
Pure Heaven Gate, seated in a summer chair borne by 
eight men. Passing successively through the back left 
gate, the centre left gate, and the Gate of Great 
Harmony, he arrived at the Mid-day Gate, where he 
descended from his sedan-chair, and ascended his great 
jade palanquin, borne on the shoulders of thirty-two 
men. As he mounted, the equerries-in-waiting held a 


Intimate China ^ 

vermilion ladder or flight of steps, leading up to the 
palanquin, to assist him in getting in. All the bearers 
were dressed in outer robes of red silk and inner robes 
of ash-coloured linen. On their feet were fast-walking 
boots of the same grey material, with thin soles, the 
upper part round the ankles being of black fur. They 
wore caps of leopard-skins, dappled as if with coins of 
gold, with red velvet plumes, kept in position by gold 
filigree plates, from which floated yellow feathers down 
their backs. The palanquin is eight feet high, an3 
weighs about i ton i6 cwt. ; but the bearers walked 
swiftly under its weight, like lightning-flashes or shoot- 
ing stars rushing across the sky, and at every fiv(t 
hundred yards they were relieved by a fresh set of 
thirty-two men. 

''When the Emperor ascended the great jade palan- 
quin, the sedan with its eight bearers still followed him. 
Beside the palanquin walked two of the Chief Equerries 
to support it. 

'' Ahead or this stately procession rolled the five 
gigantic cars, ordinarily drawn by elephants, which 
animals were this year absent from the fete by per- 
mission of the Emperor, to whom the danger of their 
suddenly getting ungovernable had been pointed out. 

" Behind the Imperial palanquin were marching ten 
men armed with spears hung with leopards' tails, ten 
men with swords, and a dozen men carrying bows and 
arrows, all representatives of the Tartar corps of the 

" Behind them came walking about a hundred of the 


■^ Imperial Procession 

highest Manchu nobility, Princes, Emirs, sons of Emirs, 
Dukes, Marquises, and Earls, Assistant Chamberlains 
(who command in turn the Palace Guard), General Officers 
of the Brigade of Imperial Guards, the Comptroller of 
the Household, and the Prince of the Imperial blood 
who, as President of the Clan Court, preserves the 
Genealogical Record or Family Roll of the Ta Tsing 
Dynasty, all armed either with bows and arrows or 
with large swords. As soon as this noble company 
arrived outside of the Middle Gate, they all mounted 
their chargers, having before that been obliged to walk 
on foot. 

'' The rear was brought up by two Assistant 
Chamberlains, with their suite, bearing two immense 
yellow^ dragon standards. 

" Outside the Mid-day Gate were kneeling a great 
number of civil and military mandarins in Court dresses, 
who may not accompany the procession, being not of 
sufficiently high rank, and so pay their respects to it 
thus as it defiles past. 

'' The stone road to the Temple of Heaven, which is 
about two and a half miles long, although not yet mended 
with stones as intended, looked neat, with all its in 
equalities hidden under a uniform covering of yellow 
soil. At the mouth of every road or street, whether 
within the wall of Peking or outside it, which ran into 
the route of the procession at right angles to its course, 
were mat sheds, draped outside with blue cloth, serving 
as tents for Chinese infantry (Green Standard), who 
mounted guard at each corner, armed with whips, to 


Intimate China <♦- 

keep order and silence amongst the people in these 
streets. At every five paces of the road along which 
the procession passed stood a guardsman of the 
vanguard, in full uniform, sword by his side and whip 
in hand. The^ gates and doors of every house and 
shop were closed, and red silk decorations hung in 
festoons in front of them, all along the route ; and 
in front of every sentry station were displayed bow^s 
and arrows, swords and spears, arranged in symmetrical 
order, with decorative lanterns and satin hangings. 
The Emperor, having arrived at the left gate of the 
brick wall of the Temple, exchanged his great jade 
palanquin for a sedan-chair with eight bearers only, 
and, on entering the west side of the sacred path inside 
the Left Gate of Prayers for the Year, descended, and 
on foot walked up to the Chamber of Imperial Heaven, 
holding a stick of incense burning in his hand in the 
prescribed manner, after which he inspected the victims 
(oxen, etc.) laid out there, the sacrificial vessels of 
bamboo and wood, and, returning to the west side of 
the sacred road, got into his sedan-chair again, went 
out at the Gate of Prayers for the Year, and repaired 
to the Hall of Abstinence, to pass a season in holy 
contemplation in the Immeasurable Chamber. 

" The duty of patrolling the Temple of Heaven, etc., 
devolves upon the Princes of the Blood on these 
occasions. But Princes descended from chiefs of the 
Manchu Dynasty before their conquest of China, 
accompanied by the Emperor's aide-de-camp, the Chief 
of the Eunuchs, and other officers, kept patrol outside 


^. In the Hall of Abstinence 

the apartment, when the Emperor, in the Immeasurable 
Chamber of his Hall of Abstinence, at four o'clock in 
the morning, commanded supper, which was duly served 
by the gentlemen-in-waiting, whilst the bronze statue 
bearing on its head the inscription ' Abstinence ' 
was set up, fronting his Majesty as he sat. 

''The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice, already men- 
tioned, had arranged a prayer-mat on the ground out- 
side the Chamber of Prayers for the Year, and had 
set up the Tablet of Shang Ti (the Supreme God) in 
the interior of the Chamber, facing south, with, on the 
right and left, the Tablets of the Emperor's Ancestors, 
facing east and west respectively. A great curtain had 
been hung up outside the door of the Chamber. 

" The Emperor, in his sacrificial vestments em- 
broidered with the golden dragon, a Court cap of white 
ermine on his head, surmounted with an immense pearl 
set in a gold ornament representing nine dragons, and 
a necklace of one hundred and eight precious pearls 
round his neck, issued from the Hall of Abstinence 
at the appointed hour, riding in a summer sedan-chair 
borne by eight men, entered the Temple, and reached 
the Left Gate of Prayers for the Year through the 
west gate of the brick wall of the Temple. Here 
alighting, he walked into the Chamber of Prayers for 
the Year, and adored Shang Ti (Supreme Ruler) and 
his own august ancestors. The animal victims and the 
sacrificial vessels of various sorts were here already laid 
out in the prescribed order. 

" The Reader of Prayers knelt in front of his 


Intimate China ^#- 

Majesty, holding up the prayer-scroll in both hands, 
and reverentially recited the prayer. As it was still 
dark inside the building, another official of the Court 
of Sacrifice knelt beside him with a candle to throw 
a clear light on the written words of the prayer. When 
the prayer had been read, the Emperor knelt three 
times, nine times /e'otowing, then rose again to his feet. 
The incense-bearer brought the incense, the winecup- 
bearer brought the cup, the silk-bearer the silk, and 
the official with the cushion spread it on the floor. 
The Master of the Ceremonies then ushered his 
Majesty to his place. The Emperor knelt again thrice, 
and k^otowed nine times, and when he rose again the 
musicians played three antique airs. 

'' The paper ingots and the offerings of food from 
the carcases of the animal victims were held up and 
presented, as prescribed by ancient forms. Officers of 
the Board of Ceremonies, of the Court of Sacrificial 
Worship, and of the Court of Imperial Entertainments, 
holding respectively in both hands the prayer-scroll, 
the silken prayer-scrolls, and the incense-case, advanced 
to the great incense-burner, and solemnly burned all 
these objects to ashes. The Chief of the Court of 
Sacrificial W'orship then knelt, and announced to the 
Emperor that the ceremony was finished. 

"His Majesty, ascending the summer sedan-chair, 
returned to his chamber In the Hall of Abstinence, to 
change his attire and have some repose. Then getting 
into his palanquin again, he was carried through the 
inner and the outer gates of the Temple, the State 


^. Passing' through the (jates 

musicians performing an ancient melody. The cortege, 
in the same order as before, passed through the Cheng- 
Yang Gate, and the Emperor burned incense in the 
Buddhist Temple and the Temple of Kwan Ti (the God 
of War). There 
Taoist priests in 
full attire knelt 
to receive him 
at the left of the 
entrance. When 
this ceremony 
was finished, the 
Emperor passed 
through the Ta 
Tsing Gate, the 

music ceasme as 


the bell tolled 

out from over 

the Mid-day 

Gate. Passing 

through the 

T ' i e n N g a n 

Gate, the Tuan 

Gate, the Mid-day and the T'ai Hwo Gates, and the 

Chien Tsing Gate, he returned to his Palace in Peking, 

and the procession dispersed. 

" The Emperor entered the Palace, paid his respects 
to the aged Empress, and went to his Cabinet. 

" The knowledge that our Emperor thus worships 
the gods and reveres his ancestors so devoutly, and 


Intimate China ^ 

prays for the people that they may be fed and clothed^ 
well protected, and happy all over the land, must 
surely fill us with loyalty and admiration for his august 

On March 2nd of the same year it is recorded that 
" the Emperor went at 2.20 p.m. in a sedan-chair to 
the Pavilion of Purple Light, where, seated under a 
yellow silken canopy, he enjoyed the sight of the 
Mongol Princes partaking of the banquet which had 
been laid out for them by his orders, including milk- 
wine (kottmis) and milk-tea. Eight champion wrestlers 
then had a few bouts at this sport, the winners obtain- 
ing prizes of silk and meats and wine. The soldiers' 
trained horses and camels then were put through some 
circus tricks, and there was fencing with sword and 
spear. After this the visitors were entertained with 
Mahomedan songs by the Mahomedan camp, and with 
an exhibition of pole-climbing and tightrope-walking, 
music by a trained band, horseraces, and singing-boys, 
concluding with a fine display of fireworks. The 
Mongol Princes, rising from their places at the end, 
respectfully thanked his Majesty for his kindness to 
them, and the Emperor returned to his Palace In his 
chair at about a quarter to five. 

" When the Mongol Princes come to Court at Peking 
from their country every year, they are presented by 
the Emperor with several hundreds of rolls of silk, and 
also with a sum of about ^685 for travelling expenses, 
issued from the Board of Revenue through the Colonial 
Office. In case the Board of Revenue does not Issue 


-♦> Imperial Factories 

this money in time for the strangers to receive it 
before they start, the Colonial Office is empowered to 
issue it in advance, sending in an account to the Board 
of how it was distributed, as a mark of consideration 
for men from afar." 

In 1 89 1 a Chinese paper gives us a list of the 
china sent from the great porcelain works at King-teh- 
chen, near Kiukiang, for the Imperial household : " The 
usual supply for the year comprised 80 pieces of 
the finest quality and 1,204 round articles of a high- 
class kind. In addition to this there was a special 
indent for 1,414 plates, dishes, cups, and vases, to be 
distributed as presents on the occasion of the Emperor's 
birthday. The total cost amounted to ^4,000 ; and 
as the yearly allowance is ^1,500, there is a debit 
balance of ^2,500, which will be deducted from the 
surplus remaining over from previous years." 

In 1890 the Peking Gazette tells us that " Yu Hsiu,. 
the director of the Imperial silk factories at Nanking,, 
etc., applies for an extension of the time originally 
allowed him wherein to execute a special order for 
certain goods which the Emperor intends to distribute 
as presents. He states that in the eighth moon he 
received an order through the Office of Supernume- 
raries for embroidered robes, large and small rolls of 
satin and silk gauze, amounting in all to 4,183 pieces,, 
to be ready for delivery in two m.onths' time. As 
these are intended for presents, he naturally must 
devote all his time and attention thereto, and endeavour 
to have them ready as soon as possible ; but he would 


Intimate China ^ 

point out that, of the embroidered robes, there are 210 
requiring very careful fine work, and of the other articles 
3,970 pieces of different patterns, forming a very large 
total, to complete which his machinery is inadequate. 
Under these circumstances, and considering that the 
appointed time for delivery is close at hand, he is afraid 
he will be unable to execute the order by the end of 
the tenth moon. 

'' The necessary funds for carrying on the work he 
estimates at ^19,500, and he will, in concert with 
the Governor of the province, take measures to have 
this amount collected as soon as possible. He proposes, 
in the first instance, to raise the sum of ^10,000, and 
at once set to work on the ceremonial robes ; and 
some of the satin, together with the silk, he hopes to 
be able to deliver within the year as a first instalment. 
The remainder of the order he trusts will be ready 
by the spring. By this means he will have adequate 
funds to carry on the work as required, and greater 
care can be devoted to the finish of the various articles. 
As, however, he dare not do this on his own respon- 
sibility, he would ask the Imperial sanction to execute 
the order in the manner proposed. — Granted. Let the 
Yameii concerned take noteT 

In 1 89 1 it is again th^ Peking- Gazette that tells us on 
May ist : ''Of the one hundred and thirteen Manchu 
ladies presented to the Em press- Dowager to be selected 
as maids of honour, thirty-three were chosen and dis- 
tributed about the Palace to learn their duties. Thirty 
were ordered to be placed on the list of expectants. 


^ Sacrificing to Patrons 

The rest were sent back to their famiHes, carrying 
with them gifts of much value." 

Again the Peking Gazette tells us in 1891 : '' It is- 
a long-standing custom of China in the spring of each 
year for the Emperor to perform the ceremony of 
offering a sacrifice to the Patron Saint of Agriculture, 
and for the Empress to offer a similar one to the Patron 
Saint of Silkworms. By these means it is intended to 
encourage agriculture and sericulture in the empire. 
The first sacrifice to the Patron Saint of Agriculture 
since the death of the Emperor Tung Chih was offered 
last spring by the present Emperor, who had not until 
that time taken over the reins of government The 
fourth day of the third moon of the present year was. 
appointed for offering a sacrifice to the Patron Saint 
of Sericulture. As her Majesty was wearing mourning 
for the late Prince Ch'iin, two maids of honour of the 
first grade were ordered to act on her behalf" 

Prince Ch'iin was the father of the Emperor, a 
man held in high esteem ; and of him the Peking Gazette 
says in 1891 : ''His innate humility and modesty made 
him receive such favours with ever-increasing awe and 
respect. He never once availed himself of the privilege 
which we granted him of using an apricot-yellow chair, 
and, quoting the precedent established in the case of 
the Palace of Perpetual Harmony, he reverentially 
begged that his Palace, which had the good fortune to 
be the birthplace of an Emperor, should be reclaimed 
by the State." 

In the photographs extant it may be noticed the 


Intimate China ^ 

youthful Emperor greatly resembles his father in 

As giving a little further insight into the mediaeval 
usages still observed in the Court at Peking, it may 
be interesting to notice that in 1891, "after the Clear- 
Bright Festival, the Court of Feasting, in accordance 
with the usual custom, presented forty different kinds of 
vegetables, such as cucumbers, French beans, cabbages, 
etc., to the Throne, for the use of the Imperial 
tables " ; whilst the following extracts from different 
Chinese newspapers show some of the troubles of the 

In 1 89 1 the Hupao records : " The Imperial hunting 
preserves are outside the Yungting Gate of Peking. 
The park is twelve miles in extent, and contains trees 
of great size, hundreds of years old. It is stocked 
with wild animals of varied descriptions ; predominating 
among them is the red-deer. As for the last twenty 
years no hunt has been organised [poor young Emperor 
never allowed to go out !], the game have greatly in- 
creased in numbers. The soldiers who keep guard 
over the place daily poach on the preserves, and of 
late the inhabitants round about the place have 
managed somehow to get within the walls and trap 
the deer. The market is full of red-deer meat, which 
the dealers term donkey flesh or beef, to evade 
inquiries on the part of the police. The authorities 
have finally got wind of the matter, and by strict 
watching caught three poachers, who have been handed 
over to the Board of Punishments. The guards have 


^ For the Empress-Dowager 

received a severe reprimand and stringent orders to 
prevent further poaching." 

In old days the Manchus were a great hunting 
race, but they seem to have lost all manliness, all the 
men now vegetating upon the pensions assigned them 
since the conquest of China. But the Empress- 
Dowager, whom Chang-chih-tung, the incorruptible 
Viceroy of Hupeh, has openly accused of intercepting 
and appropriating to her own uses the money voted for 
the army and navy, continues to enjoy herself And 
again a Chinese newspaper records : " The Empress- 
Dowager lately paid a visit to the garden built for 
her by the present Emperor, and took a trip on 
the Kun-ming Lake in a steam-launch." Whilst the 
Shenpao relates : '' More than twenty large firms have 
taken over contracts for finishing the Eho Palace 
gardens, which have been built by the Emperor as a 
place of recreation for the Empress- Dowager, after her 
retirement from managing the arduous affairs of State. 
Her Majesty prefers to visit and stay in them during 
the summer, and the time appointed to have the gardens 
in a complete state for her reception is very near. 
More than ten thousand workmen have been engaged 
to hasten the work. Of these, three thousand or more 
are carvers, who have caused much trouble while 
working in other portions of the Imperial Palace ere 
this. Knowing that the date for completing the gardens 
was near at hand, they struck for higher wages, and 
in this demand all the carpenters joined. They were 
receiving individually three meals and about eightpence 


Intimate China ^^ 

per diem. They demanded half a crown a day. On 
their employers refusing to comply with this exorbitant 
request, a signal gun, previously agreed upon, was fired, 
and thousands of workmen, carvers, carpenters, and 
masons began to make threatening demonstrations. 
The officials on guard, finding the police unable to 
cope with the multitude, especially as the carpenters 
were armed with axes, quickly sounded the alarm, 
calling on the rifle brigade, Yuen-ming-yuen guards, 
and cavalry for assistance. These came with all speed 
and surrounded the strikers. The officials and the 
head firms now began to negotiate, and all parties were 
satisfied w^th an increase of '^d. a day for each man." 

Strikes and riots, indeed, it seems of late years 
have not been infrequent in Peking ; and this account 
of Tientsin workmen may well follow here, as showing 
what has to be contended with : 

" The Tientsin workmen engaged in the manufacture 
of iron rice-pans are, as a rule, desperate and lawless 
characters. They are divided into clans, and fighting 
seems to be their only pastime. When a row or a 
fire occurs, they are the first to be on the spot, 
quarrelling and fighting. Laws are inadequate to restrain 
them. Their motto is ' Death before cowardice,' and 
to their credit it must be said that even under the 
most harrowing tortures none of them have ever been 
known to cry for mercy. Any one showing weakness 
under physical suffering is boycotted by the rest of 
the gang ; and he being a rowdy, and knowing no better, 
feels abjectly humiliated thereby, and considers life but 


-Pi Rowdy Workmen 

a void when burdened by the curses of his sworn 
brethren. The authorities take great pains in putting 
down such lawlessness, but their efforts so far have 
not resulted in much success, as will be seen from the 
following occurrence. Some time during last winter a 
quarrel broke out between the patrolmen on one side 
and the rice-pan workmen on the other or east side 
of the river. The quarrel did not at first produce a 
fight, but sowed the seeds of hatred and thought ot 
vengeance on the part of the rowdies. The New 
Year festivities seemed to reconcile all parties ; but 
soon mistrust and suspicion again revived, and both 
sides prepared for battle. Great vigilance was observed, 
and they slept, as it were, with swords and spears 
ready by their sides. Such a state of things could 
not continue long. About a week ago, one cold and 
stormy night, about twelve o'clock, a band of rowdies 
five hundred strong, fully equipped, marched by stealth 
to the quarters of the guards, who were then all out 
on duty. The rowdies had the whole place to them- 
selves. They tore down the barracks, seized the 
arms, and destroyed all personal effects. Leaving ruin 
and devastation in their wake, they turned their steps 
homewards, but were pursued and overtaken by the 
guards, who gathered to the number of several hundreds. 
A skirmish followed, resulting in the utter rout of the 
rowdies. Two of them were captured and several 
were wounded. The guards suffered also to some 
extent. When the soldiers from the garrison camps 
came upon the scene, both parties had disappeared." 

513 LL 

Intimate China ^ 

The Tientsin men throughout the empire are known 
as rowdies, but the rowdies of the streets of Peking 
(possibly originally from Tientsin) are certainly the worst. 

There are only two other men, who can be com- 
pared in position with the Emperor of China. One 
is the Emperor of Russia, also now a young man ; 
the other is the Dalai Lama, popularly reputed to be 
never allowed to live beyond a certain very youthful 
age. The Peking Gazette of July 5th, 1891, says : 
" Sheng-tai, the Resident in Tibet, reports the fact 
that on the fifth day of the first moon of the present 
year the Dalai Lama did, in accordance with immemorial 
usage, descend from the mountain, and, accompanied 
by a large body of priests, proceed to the great shrine 
and offer up prayers for the welfare of the nation. 
Memorialist furnished him with a body-guard for his 
protection. The Dalai Lama appears to be able to 
keep his men well under control, and it is satisfactory 
to be able to report that throughout Tibet everything 
is in a peaceful condition." 

Considering the case of these exalted personages, 
we may easily indulge in the somewhat hackneyed 
thankfulness that our lot has placed us in some hum.bler 
sphere. But just as it often seems to me in England, 
the poor rich get left out by all teachers, preachers, 
or other apostles of glad tidings ; so let us at least not 
pass by on the other side, like the Pharisee of old, 
but pause to breathe a prayer for the three young 
men appointed, not by themselves. Emperor of Russia 
Emperor of China, and Dalai Lama of Tibet ! 




A Concubine no Empress. — Sudden Deaths. — 
Suspicions. — Prince Ch'iin. — Emperor's Education. 
— His Sadness. — His Features. — Foreign Ministers' 
Audience. — Another Audience.— Crowding of the 
Rabble. — Peking's Effect on Foreign Representatives. 

ACCORDING to Chinese usage or unwritten law, 
the concubine of an Emperor can never become 
E mpress- Do wager ; yet Tze Hsi, the concubine of 
the Emperor Hien Feng, and mother of the late 
Emperor Tung Chih, has ruled over China in this 
capacity since 187 1. For a time she nominally shared 
the power with Tze An, the childless widow of the 
Emperor Hien Feng. In like manner for a while 
the youthful Kwang-shii, her step-sister's son, has been 
nominal Emperor. But the ease with which she 
resumed the reins in September, 1898, sufficiently shows 
that she had never really let go of them. Tze, 
which was also the name of the late Empress Tze 
An, means ''parental love," whilst An means ''peace." 
Hsi, the second name of the present Empress, means 
"joy," and is pronounced she. Tze Hsi is undoubtedly 
a remarkable woman. Besides having directed the 


Intimate China ^ 


Lent hy Society for Diffusion of 
Christian and General Ktioiv- 
Icd^e in China. 

destinies of China for twenty- 
seven years, without being in 
the least entitled to do so, she 
is said to be a brilliant artist, 
often giving away her pictures ; 
and she also writes poetry, 
having even presented six 
hundred stanzas of her poetry 
to the Hanlin College. Some 
people suspect her of having 
been instrumental in causing 
the death of the Emperor 
Hien Feng, as also of his and 
her son Tung Chih. She is 
more than suspected of having 
caused the death of her sister, the mother of the 
Emperor Kwang-shii. The two ladies had a violent 
altercation about the upbringing of the child, and two 
days after his mother died — of pent-up anger in the 
heart. It was announced. The beautiful Aleute, widow 
of her son Tung Chih, certainly died by her own 
hand, which is considered a very righteous act on 
the part of a widow ; but had her mother-in-law, the 
Empress Tze Hsi, not thought that she might be- 
come a dangerous rival, probably Aleute would not 
have killed herself 

It is of course well known that Kwang-shti was not 
the natural successor to Tung Chih. He was simply 
chosen as Emperor by his ambitious aunt because he 
was the very youngest person who had any claim, and 


-») Stolen from his Cradle 

she thus secured to herself a longer lease of power. 
Her sister was notoriously averse to it, and the little 
Kwang-shti was stolen by the Empress Tze Hsi from 
his cradle to bear the burden of an honour unto which 
he was not born. The child is reported to have cried. 
He was then four years old. His father was the 
poetical Prince Ch'iin, who made one great tour, and 
wrote a collection of poems on the novel objects he saw 
during his travels. An Englishman, who knew him, 
describes him as rather jovial than otherwise, but his 
portrait hardly confirms this description. He was cer- 
tainly respected during his lifetime, and after his death, 
as before mentioned, he was extolled in the Peking 
Gazette for the meekness with which he had abstained 
from arrogating to himself high place, in spite of being the 
father of an Emperor. Probably, however, his life would 
have ended sooner if he had, and he knew it. As it 
was, there were suspicious circumstances about his death, 
as some people thought there were about that of the 
Marquis Tseng, a former Chinese Minister very popular 
in England, whilst he resided here. Dr. Dudgeon, 
years ago a member of the London Mission, was his 
medical adviser, and he himself relates how Li Hung- 
chang, celebrated for his abrupt speeches, accosted 
him with, "Well, and how much did you get for poison- 
ing the Marquis Tseng?" ''I poison the Marquis 
Tseng ! That was very foolish of me, considering 
he was my best-paying patient." Then, after a pause, 
'' But if I did, how much was it your Excellency paid 
me to put him out of the way ? " Li Hung-chang 


Intimate China ^ 

lay back in his chair and chuckled, not offended but 
delighted with the retort. But although the Marquis 
Tseng, there is every reason to suppose, died of illness, 
it seems impossible to say so of Prince Kung, who 
opposed the policy of the Empress Tze Hsi, and died 
almost directly afterwards, as was again said, of pent-up 

The quarrel between the Empress and her sister 
was about the method of education of the youthful 
Kwang-shti. The former is openly accused of having 
taught him to play cards and drink wine. And the 
marvel is, not that Kwang-shti is a young man of weak 
physique, and lacking in the characteristics of a Crom- 
well or a Bismarck, but that he is, in spite of all, a young 
man with aspirations and a real wish for his country's 
good. During all my stay in China I have never heard 
one single story to his disadvantage, except that at one 
time people had an idea he was subject to epileptic fits, 
which seems not to have been true, and that ten or 
twelve years ago I have heard it said that at times 
he had ungovernable fits of rage, during which he would 
throw anything that came handy at the heads of those 
who opposed him. This may have been true — he was 
but a boy at the time — but the story has never been 
confirmed, nor were those who told it the least confident 
that it was true. From Chinese I have heard but one 
account: " The Emperor is good. But what can he do ? " 
Of the Empress, on the other hand, there seems but one 
opinion — that she loves money. Sometimes people add 
that she has taken with ardour to gambling. But never 


^ Very Sorrowful 

have I heard any Chinaman suggest that she had the 
least care of any sort for the interests of China or the 
Chinese. They do not speak of her as clever. They 
speak of her generally in connection with Li Hung- 
chang, the unscrupulous ; and they shake their heads 
over them both. According to report, she has a 
piercing eye. But a lady, who had been some years 
in the Palace embroidering, seemed surprised at hearing 
this, and implied that she had never noticed it. 

I have heard many descriptions of the young Kwang- 
shii. They all agree on one point — that he looks 
sorrowful. '' Very sorrowful ? " I asked the other day 
of an Englishman, who had seen him just before his 
deposition. *' Yes, very sorrowful." " Sick and sorrow- 
ful ? or more sorrowful than sick ? " " More sorrowful 
than sick." A private letter I once saw, written by 
a man fresh from being present at an audience, gave 
the impression of his being altogether overcome by 
the youthful Emperor's sadness, which, as far as I 
remember, was described as a cloud, that seemed to 
envelop him, and remove him from the rest of the 
world. This sadness seemed to be heightened by 
an extreme sweetness of disposition. The youthful 
Emperor smiled on seeing the beautifully illuminated 
book in which the German address of congratulation was 
presented, looked at it for a moment, then laid it down, 
and once more was so full of sorrow it was impossible 
to contemplate him without emotion. If my memory 
serves me, the writer used stronger, more high-flown ex- 
pressions than I am daring to make use of Repeating 


Intimate China ^ 

them at the time to the Secretary who had accom- 
panied the British Minister, I asked him if the Emperor 
had made at all the same impression upon him. He 
paused a moment, looking grave ; then said firmly, 
'' Yes, I think quite the same." 

Here is an extract from an account written on the 
occasion of the audience of the Diplomatic Corps in 
1891 : 

'' All interest, however, centred in the Emperor 
himself. He looks younger even than he is, not more 
than sixteen or seventeen. Although his features are 
essentially Chinese, or rather Manchu, they wear a 
particular air of personal distinction. Rather pale and 
dark, with a well-shaped forehead, long, black, arched 
eyebrows, large, mournful, dark eyes, a sensitive mouth, 
and an unusually long chin, the young Emperor, 
together with an air of great gentleness and intelligence, 
wore an expression of melancholy, due, naturally. 
enough, to the deprivation of nearly all the pleasures 
of his age and to the strict life which the hard and 
complicated duties of his high position force him to 
lead. As he sat cross-legged, the table in front hid the 
lower part of his person. In addressing Prince Ch'iin, 
he spoke in Manchu rather low and rapidly, being 
perhaps a little nervous." 

And now it may be well to give a translation 
of the best account I know, that of the Ost Asiatische 
Lloyd, of the audience of the Foreign Ministers in 
Peking at the celebration of the sixtieth birthday of 
the Empress- Dowager. 


^ Audience of the Foreign Ministers 

" Early in the present month the Represeatatives 
of the Treaty Powers in Peking were officially informed 
by Prince Kung, the new President of the Tsung-li 
Yamen, that the Emperor desired to receive the 
Foreign Ministers in audience in celebration of the 
sixtieth birthday of the Empress ex- Regent ; and, further, 
that, as a special mark of good-will, the audience would 
be held within the precincts of the Inner Palace — ix. 
in the so-called ' Forbidden City.' This audience took 
place on Monday, November 12th. 

" The theatre of this solemn function of State was 
the Hall of Blooming Literature, a somewhat ancient 
building in the south-east quarter of the Palace, which 
is used for the annual Festival of Literature, held in the 
second month, on which occasion the Emperor receives 
addresses on the Classics from distinguished members 
of the Hanlin College. According to a Japanese w^ork, 
entitled A Description of Famous Places in the Land of 
Tang {i.e. China), which gives an illustrated description 
of the ceremony, all the Presidents and Vice-Presidents 
of the different Ministries in Peking, as well as high 
office-bearers, have then to be present. 

" On the present occasion the Representatives of 
the Foreign Powers and their suites entered by the 
Eastern Flowery Gate, which is the sole entrance in 
the east wall of the Inner Palace. The sedans were 
left there, and the visitors proceeded on foot through 
a wide walled-in courtyard, past the Palace garden, 
to the Hall of Manifested Benevolence, a smaller three- 
fold building In which formerly offerings were made to 


Intimate China ^ 

the mythical Emperors and to the ancient worthies, 
and which was utilised on this occasion as waiting-room 
for the Ambassadors. These were now received by 
the Princes and Ministers of the Tsung-li Yamen, and 
thence conducted, after a short delay, through the Wen- 
hua pavilion. From there the Envoys and their suites 
were conducted to the audience chamber by two Palace 
officials, and then led to the throne by two Ministers 
of the Tsung-li Yamen. At twenty minutes before 
twelve o'clock the doyen ot the Diplomatic Corps, 
the Ambassador of the United States, was presented, 
while the others followed in order of seniority. The 
remainder of the ceremony was carried out as at 
previous audiences. The Ambassador, followed by his 
suite, approached the dais with three bows, and saluted 
the Emperor seated thereon at the top of a flight ot 
steps : he then spoke a few words commemorating the 
solemn occasion. The letter of felicitation from his 
sovereign was then handed in, after each respective 
Embassy interpreter had translated it into Chinese ; it 
was then taken by Prince Kung or Prince Ch'ing, who 
stood at the Emperor's side and acted alternately with 
each presentation, and translated by them into Manchu. 
The Prince in question then laid the letter on a table 
covered with yellow silk before the Emperor. The 
monarch inclined his head as he received it, then spoke 
a few sentences In an audible tone to the Prince kneeling 
at his left. In which he expressed his delight and satis- 
faction. The Prince, after leaving the dais, repeated 
the Emperor's words In Chinese to the Interpreter, who 


Distinct Majesty of Demeanour 

again repeated 
them in the 
language of his 
country to the 

'' This com- 
pleted the 
audience : the 
Ambassador left 
the hall bowing, 
with the same 
ceremonies, and 
conducted as on 
entering. Orien- 
tal ceremonial 
was thus con- 
spicuously and 
worthily main- 

''The Wen- 
hua-tien has 
three entrances in its southern wall led up to by three 
flights of stone steps : as long as the Ambassador was 
the bearer of the Imperial handwriting, he was given 
the most honoured way of approach, that is, the great 
central staircase and the centre door, which otherwise 
are only made use of by the Emperor in person ; the 
exits were made through the side door on the left. 

'' The proceedings were characterised by a distinct 
majesty of demeanour. As mentioned above, the 


By Mr. J. T/wmson. 

Intimate China ^ 

Emperor was seated on a raised dais at a table hung 
with yellow silk ; behind him were the customary 
paraphernalia — the screen and the peacock fan ; at his 
right stood two Princes of the Imperial House ; at his 
left the Prince of Ke Chin and Prince Kung or Prince 
Ch'ing. In the hall itself two lines of guards carrying 
swords were formed up, behind which stood eunuchs 
and Palace officers. The most interesting feature in 
the whole ceremony was of course the person of the 
youthful monarch, clad in a sable robe and wearing the 
hat of State. His unusually large brilliant black eyes 
gave a wonderfully sympathetic aspect to his mild, 
almost childish countenance, increased, if anything, by 
the pallor due to a recent fever. 

" Upon leaving the hall of audience, a strikingly 
picturesque scene disclosed itself On either side {i.e. 
east and west, from the open staircase leading south) 
were displayed the long rows of the Palace gardens in 
form of a hollow bow. In front and rear swarms of 
officials were moving about, clad in long robes, with 
the square, many-coloured emblems of their respective 
ranks embroidered on them behind and before ; with all 
their air of business no haste or hurry could be perceived. 
Everything was being done in the solemn and majestic 
manner characteristic of the Chinese official style. 
Turning to the right, one noticed, at the extreme edge 
of the wide court, the high wall covered with glazed 
yellow tiles which encloses the long row of the central 
halls of the Palace, and again to the south of these the 
threefold Tso-yi-men, or ' Left Gate of Righteousness,' 



Foreigners within the Palace 

and beyond that, but towering far above it, the mighty 
construction of the Tai-ho Hall, which by its archi- 
tectural features is the most conspicuous building in 
the whole Imperial City. As in everything Chinese, 
the effect was produced not so much by the execution 
of the details as by the vastness of the proportions and 
the majesty of the surroundings. 

" The Wen-hua-tien itself is an old building, sixty 
or more feet in width and of almost the same depth, 
which had been arranged as well as might be for the 
occasion. The entrance was adorned with silken hang- 
ings and rosettes, and pillars had been erected on the 
stone staircases adorned with dragons, with yellow silk 
wound round them ; the centre steps and the floor were 
carpeted. It cannot, however, be denied that the 
Wen-hua-tien is not comparable either with the Cheng- 
kuang-tien or the Tze-kuang-ko, the two halls in which 
the former audiences were held, either in size or in its 
internal arrangements. On the other hand, we cannot 
sufficiently congratulate ourselves on the fact of the 
Chinese Court having at last resolved to open the door 
of the ' Inner Palace ' to the Foreign Representatives. 
These doors have been so long and anxiously guarded, 
that it was a hard matter for the Court to give way in 
the weary discussions over the audience question — how 
hard may be inferred from the number of years it has 
taken to bring about this final solution." 

An account of another audience, given at the time 
in the Chinese Times, since defunct, but then published 
at Tientsin, the nearest Treaty Port to Peking, gives 


Intimate China ^ 

a few details that are perhaps the more interesting 
from their contrast with the very careful account 
above quoted, obviously written by a gentleman con- 
nected with Diplomacy : 

" When the procession reached the North Gate, 
leading into the garden near the Marble Bridge, the 
Ministers and others left their chairs and proceeded 
on foot to a kind of small pavilion, where a collation 
was served, and where the party waited an hour 
surrounded by mandarins and a crowd ot roughs — 
chair-coolies (not those of the Legations, who had been 
left outside), workmen, gardeners, porters, and coolies — 
who peered in at the windows, and even allowed them- 
selves to make digital examination of the uniforms and 
decorations of the Ministers. After a lapse of an hour 
the party were conducted into three tents erected at 
the foot of the steps of the Tze-kuang-ko, where, 
divided into three groups — Ministers, attaches, and 
interpreters — they remained half an hour. Then the 
Emperor arrived, and M. Von Brandt was the first 
to enter the presence, where he remained exactly five 
minutes, all ceremonies included. He was followed by 
the other Ministers in turn, the audience occupying 
barely five minutes for each. Then the suites of the 
Ministers entered, in three ranks. Three salvoes were 
given on entrance and three on retiring, backwards. 

'' The audience itself was conducted as follows : 
M. Von Brandt, the German Minister, delivered a 
very short speech in English, which M. Popoff, Russian, 
translated into Chinese ; Prince Ch'ing repeated it, 


^ Ministers handled by Dirty Rabble 

kneeling, in Manchu, at the foot of the throne. The 
Emperor said a few prepared words in reply, which 
were translated in the reverse order, and the Ministers 
retired. The Emperor was at a distance of seven or 
eight yards from the Europeans, raised on a dais 
with a table In front of him. Behind him stood the 
Pao-wang and the Ko-wang ; at the foot of the dais 
Prince Ch*Ing ; and on either side soldiers with side 
arms. The hall was not a large one ; the Europeans 
were placed near the centre, between two pillars. The 
rabble crowded up the steps of the Tze-kuang-ko, and 
no order was kept." 

This crowding of the rabble is eminently Chinese, 
as also that no steps were taken to save the Repre- 
sentatives of the various countries of Europe from 
the Impertinent and dirty hands of workmen and 
coolies. It is extraordinary to think of European 
diplomatists submitting to it. Of course they would 
not have done so, but for the mutual jealousies among 
themselves. It Is this that always gives China her 
advantage. It Is also remarkable that Herr von 
Brandt should have spoken In English, a fact Ignored 
In German newspapers, although It must have been 
prearranged, and doubtless after much consideration. 
But the fact that all this assemblage of Ministers 
Plenipotentiary with attendant secretaries allowed a 
Chinese rabble thus to Insult them In their official 
capacity will perhaps make Intelligible In England, why 
our hearts often grow hot within us, while sojourning 
In China, and our cheeks sometimes burn with shame 


Intimate China 

By Mr. Stratford Dugdale, 

for our country, which we know to be so strong, and 
which allows itself at times to be so humiliated by a 
nation, that naturally becomes more arrogant, seeing 
itself allowed thus to act. I do not know who the 
writer of the following poem is ; but he expresses 
my feelings with more calm and dignity than I could 
myself; therefore I hope he will not be displeased by 
my quoting it. 


The Spirit of the Land 


March 6th, iS;;.. 
'Tis said it was the spirit of the land 
That grew upon them — they were mostly men 
Of birth and culture, whom their native s.ates 
Had chosen to send forth, ambassadors ! 
From many a favoured shore where truth and light 
Had made their home, where peaceful arts had shed 
Their brightest rays ; from fields of classic song 
Whose softening accents ring from age to age, 
They came to far Cathay — a little band 
Prepared to bear the torch of progress on 
And carry it throughout that heathen land. 
'Twas with the noblest purpose they had left 
Such shores as none could leave without regret. 
Where every passing day can stir the pulse 
With throbs unknown to Oriental sloth : 
So all their peers had bade them speed and give 
Fair promise of the deeds that they should do ; 
How, like their forbears, they should help to clear 
A way through ignorance and vicious pride 
To harmony — and better thus the world. 

But to each one it fell (we know not how ; 
'Tis said it was the spirit of that land) 
That soon his pristine ardour died away ; 
It seemed almost as if the mouldering walls 
Of that Peking, which typifies decay, 
Shut out all purpose, shutting in the man — 
As if each roof, in that foul street, where lodge 
The envoys of proud states, had thrown the shade 
Of apathy on those, who dwelt below. 
To rob them of their power and their will. 
It was as though o'er all the city's gates all hope 
Of fruitful work left those, who entered there; 
It was a piteous thing to see the ebb 
Of energy and zeal, to mark the growth 
Of passive rust on minds, that once were keen. 

529 MM. 

Intimate China ^ 

As pebbles taken from the running brook 

Lose all their brightness 'neath th' insidious moss, 

So, 'neath the flagstafifs of the greatest powers, 

In men (who loved these flags for all they told 

Of chivalry and honour, right and truth) 

Grew up a tolerance of ways Chinese, 

A certain toying with the flight of Time, 

With jugglery of words, and willingness 

To let things right themselves ; then later still 

It seemed as if the mind of petty trade, 

Haggling and bargains (which be as the breath 

Of China's nostrils), crept into their souls, 

So that, forgetting all their nobler aims. 

Each sought to introduce cheap cloth and iron nails. 

'Twas to this weak, ignoble end they lost 
Their unity, competing one and all. 
While Chinese " diplomats " were still and smiled. 
And China's monarch held them all to be 
Barbarians, unfit to see his face. 
'Twas pitiful to see the highest aims 
Give way before base purposes of greed, 
To w^atch the little path, that had been won 
By sturdy valour of the foremost few. 
Grow thick and tangled by the many weeds 
Of late diplomacy : to see the loss 
Of early treaties in these latter days. 


Meanwhile, the people of that heathen land, 
Like sparrows that have found a blinded hawk. 
Grew insolent apace, and year by year 
Respect and wholesome fear gave way to scorn. 
The common herd, not slow to ape the moods 
Of those above them, met with sullen looks, 
Hustlings, and jeers the strangers in their midst ; 
Then, as it seemed, the passive spirit grew 
With every insult, words gave place to deeds. 
Till fire and plunder were the common lot 

Careless of Mankind 

Of unprotected merchants and their wares. 
And still their leaders slept; at times it seemed 
(When some new outrage made the country ring) 
As if the spell must break and wrath be roused 
With strength to crush all China at a blow. 
But well the wily Mongol played his gam.e 
AVith honeyed speech and temporising gifts : 
And ever came the necessary sop- 
Some contract, loan, monopoly, or pact — 
At sight of which all wrongs were laid aside, 
And men who had " full powers " used them not, 
Forgetting the traditions of their race. 
And thus things went from bad to worse, while men 
Sat sadly wondering what the end would be. 
And at their parlous state, of which no cause 
They knew, except the spirit of the land. 
But of those latter days, and what befell 
Leaders and led, not mine to-day to tell. 






Everybody Guaranteed by Somebody Else. — Buying 
back Office. — Family Responsibilities. — Guilds. — All 
Employes Partners. — Antiquity of Chinese Reforms. 
— To each Province so many Posts. — Laotze's 
Protest against Unnecessary Laws. — Experiment in 
Socialism. — College of Censors. — Tribunal of 
History. — Ideal in Theory. 

POSSIBLY that state of society in which the indi- 
vidual is the unit is a more advanced form of 
civilisation ; but it is impossible to understand China 
unless it be first realised that the individual life is 
nothing there, and that the family is the unit ; and 
yet further, that no one stands alone in China, as is so 
painfully the case in England, but that every one is 
responsible for some one else, guaranteed by some one 
else. i\nd here, to those who wish to read a really 
exact, circumstantial account of the Chinese and their 
ways, let me recommend John Chinaman^ by the Rev, 
George Cockburn, quite the best book I have read 
on the subject, and one that deserves a wider circu- 
lation than it has attained, being written in terse, 
epigrammatic English, with a flavour of Tacitus about 


^ Secured ! Squeeze ! 

!t. Alas ! the writer is no more, — a silent, reserved, 
black-browed Scotchman, with a fervour of missionary 
zeal glowing under a most impassive exterior. The 
riot, in which all our own worldly goods in China were 
destroyed, wrecked for ever the nervous system of 
his strong, handsome, brave young wife. And what 
with that and the details of daily life, all laid upon 
the shoulders of a man by nature a student and a 
visionary, he left China, and soon after passed away 
beyond the veil, where, if we share the Chinese belief, 
let us trust his spirit is gladdened by words of apprecia- 
tion of the one littLe volume in which he embodied 
the fruits of years of w^ork and thought in China, 
dying, as far as I remember, almost as it appeared. 
The wreckage of missionary lives and hopes is one of 
the tragedies of European life in China, and one which 
a little more understanding and sympathy on the part 
of missionary boards at home mnght often, it would 
seem, avert. 

But to return to the Chinese. If you engage a 
servant, he is secztred by some one to a certain amount, 
and all you have to do is to ascertain whether the 
security is in a position to pay should the other decamp 
with your property, also whether a higher value is likely 
to be at his disposition. If yours is a well-arranged 
household, this head man engages the other servants 
and secures them, reprimanding and discharging them 
at his pleasure. He, of course, gets a certain amount 
of the wages you think you are paying them. This, 
in China, the land of it, is called a "squeeze." But it 


Intimate China 


seems perfectly legitimate, as indeed all squeezes 
seem legitimate from the Chinese point of view, only 
sometimes carried to excess. It is the same in business. 
It is not quite the same in official positions, because 
there the Viceroy of a province pays so much to get 
his post, and so do the lesser officials under him. The 
theory in China is that superior men will always act as 
such, whatever their pay may be. Therefore a Chinese 
Viceroy of to-day receives theoretically the living wage 
of centuries ago. Practically he receives squeezes from 
every one with whom he is brought in contact, and 
has paid so much down to acquire the post that unless 
he holds it for a term of years he is out of pocket. 
The post of Taotai, or Governor of Shanghai, is one 
of the most lucrative in China. Tsai, who has made 
friends with all of us Europeans as no Taotai ever 
did before — dining out and giving dinner parties, and 
even balls — Tsai is known to have paid so much to 
obtain the post as would represent all he could hope 
tb get in every way during two years of office : about 
;/^20,ooo. He was dismissed from his post November, 
1898 ; but possibly may be able to bribe heavily enough 
to get it back. Li Hung-chang and his two par- 
ticular dependants of former days, the late Viceroy of 
Szechuan, degraded because of the anti-foreign riots 
there, and Sheng, Chief of Telegraphs and Railways, 
etc., etc., have all done this again and again. When 
English people were laughing over Li's yellow jacket 
and peacock feather being taken from him, certain 
eunuchs of the Palace were growing rich over the 



No sending Old Parents to Workhouse ! 

process of getting them back again. The eunuch in 
the closest confidence of the Empress is always said 
to charge about ^i,ooo for an interview, and till lately 
none could be obtained but through him. When a 
man has enormous wealth, and is degraded, every 
one naturally feels it is a pity nothing should be got 
out of him, and he equally naturally is willing to pay 
much in order to be reinstated in a position to make 
more. Until the officials of China are properly paid, 
it is unreasonable to expect them to be honest. And 
yet some are so even now : not only Chang-chih-tung, 
the incorruptible Viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan, who, 
it may be noticed, is constantly being invited to Peking, 
but — neve7^ goes. But others in subordinate positions 
are pointed out by Chinese : '' That is one of the good 
old school of Chinamen. He takes no bribes, and is 
the terror of the other officials." 

In family life Chinese solidarity has its incon- 
veniences, but it altogether prevents that painful 
spectacle to which people seem to have hardened their 
hearts in England, of sending their aged relatives to 
the w'orkhouse instead of carefully tending them at 
hom.e as the Chinese do, or of one brother or sister 
surrounded by every luxury, another haunted by the 
horror of creditors and with barely the necessaries of 
life. If you are to help your brother, you must, of 
course, claim a certain amount of authority over his 
way of life. In China the father does so ; and when 
he dies, the elder brother sees after and orders his 
younger brother about ; and the younger brother, as a 


Intimate China ^ 

rule, submits. In each of those large and beautiful 
homesteads in which Chinese live in the country, adding 
only an additional graceful roof-curve, another court- 
yard, as more sons bring home more young women to 
be wives in name, but in reality to be the servants-of- 
all-work of their mothers, and the mothers of their 
children — in each of these harmonious agglomerations 
of courtyards, it is the eldest man who directs the 
family councils. Thus, when a man dies, the deciding 
voice is for his eldest brother, not for his eldest son ; 
than which probably no custom could tend more to 
conservatism, for there never comes a time when the 
voice of youth makes itself heard with authority. 

Not only are all the members of a family thus knit 
together by mutual responsibilities, but families are: 
again thus knit. It is the village elders who are 
responsible if any crime is committed in the district. 
It is they who have to discover and bring back stolen 
articles ; it is they who have to quiet disturbances and 
settle disputes about boundaries. The principle of 
local self-government has in the course of centuries 
been perfected in China, where all that Mr. Ruskin 
aims at appears to have been attained centuries ago : 
village industries, local self-government, no railways, 
no machinery, hand labour, and each village, as far 
as possible each self-sufficing family, growing its own 
silk or cotton, weaving at home its own cloth, eating 
its own rice and beans, and Indian corn and pork. 
Schools are established by little collections of families, 
or tutors engaged, as the case may be. In either case 


Bv Mrs. Archibald Little 

^ The Uses of the Guilds 

the teacher is poorly paid, but meets with a respect 
altogether out of proportion to his salary. It is all 
very ideal ; but the result is not perfect, human nature 
being what it is. In many ways, however, it appears 
a much happier system than our English system, and 
perhaps in consequence the people of China appear 
very contented. As a rule in the country each family 
tills its own bit of ground, and — where opium has not 
spread Its poisonous Influence — has held the same for 
centuries. The family tree is well known, and Chinese 
will tell you quietly " We are Cantonese," or " We are 
from Hunan," and only careful Inquiry will elicit that 
their branch of the family came thence some three 
centuries ago. 

In the towns the guilds r.epresent family life on a 
larger scale. A man comes from Klangsl, let us say, 
to Chungking, over a thousand miles away, and having 
probably spent months on the journey. He has brought 
no letters of Introduction, but he straightway goes to 
the guild-house of his province, with Its particularly 
beautiful green-tiled pagoda overlooking the river, a 
pale-pink lantern hanging from the upturned end of 
each delightful roof-curve, and there, making due 
reverence, he relates how he Is So-and-so, the son of 
So-and-so, and straightway every one there knows all 
about him, and can easily ascertain if his story be 
correct. Here are friends found for him at once, a 
free employment agency, if that Is what he Is after, 
or a bureau of Information about the various businesses 
of the city, their solvency and the like. Here Is a lovely 


Intimate China <;«- 

club-house, where he can dine or be dined, have private 
and confidential conversations in retired nooks, or sit 

Bv Mrs. Archibald Little. 

with all the men of his province sipping tea and eating 
cakes, while a play is performed before them by their 
own special troupe of actors, who act after the manner 
of their province. I do not know who first started 


^ Chinese Co-operation 

the legend that Chinese plays last for days, if not weeks. 
But it is not true, any more than that green tea is 
rendered green by being fired In copper pans and is 
poison to the nerves. Tea is green by nature, though 
it may be rendered black by fermentation, and is always 
fired in iron pans ; and weak green tea as drunk in 
China is like balm to the nerves compared to Indian 
tannin-strong decoctions. In like manner Chinese 
plays are really short, though they make up In noise 
for what they lack In length. 

If occasion needed, the guild would see after the 
newcomer's funeral, even give him free burial if the 
worst came to the worst. And though we reckon 
the Chinese people such an irreligious race, and the 
guild-houses are naturally only frequented by men, 
chiefly by merchants (for the Chinese are a nation 
of traders), yet In every guild-house there is a temple. 
And before every great banquet part of the ceremony 
of marshalling the guests to their seats (and a very 
stately ceremony it is) is pouring a libation of wine 
before an altar In the banquetlng-hall, before which 
also each guest bows in turn as he passes to the place 
assigned him. 

But probably the custom that has the greatest 
effect upon Chinese life Is that, just as twelve centuries 
ago they Introduced competitive examinations, to which 
we have now In our nineteenth century of Christianity 
turned as to a sheet-anchor, so centuries ago the 
Chinese resorted to the principle of co-operation. In 
a Chinese business, be It large or be it small, pretty 


Intimate China ^ 

well every man in the business has his share ; so that 
you are sometimes astonished when a merchant intro- 
duces to you as his partners a set of young men, 
who in England would be junior clerks. Even the 
coolie wrappering the tea-boxes says '' We are doing 
well this year," and works with a will through the 
night, knowing he too will have his portion in the 
increased business this increased work signifies. The 
way, indeed, in which Chinese work through the night 
is most remarkable. Men will row a boat day and 
night for four or five days, knowing that the sum of 
money gained will thus be quicker earned, and only 
pausing one at a time to take a whiff at a pipe or to 
eat. They will press wool all through the night to 
oblige their employer without a murmur, if only given 
free meals whilst doing this additional work. The 
truth is, the habit of industry has been so engendered 
in' Chinese as to be second nature, their whole system 
tending to encourage it, whilst ours, with our free 
poor-houses and licensed public-houses, tends rather In 
the other direction ; our Trades Unions seem trying 
all they can to further diminish the incentives to good 
work on the part of skilled workmen by denying them 
any higher wage than that obtained by the Incompetent. 
Co-operation after the Chinese model will, It Is to be 
hoped, eventually put this right again. There is so 
much we might learn from the Chinese ; but we have 
never followed the system we press upon Oriental 
nations, of sending out clever young students to other 
countries to see what they can learn that would be 


^ Much to be learnt from China 

advantageous among our own people. In some ways 
China would serve as a warning. But a civilisation, 
that reached its acme while William the Norman was 
conquering England, and that yet survives intact, must 
surely have many a lesson to teach. 

Besides all this mutual support and responsibility, 
Chinese customs are such that, as people often say 
somewhat sadly, you cannot alter one without altering 
all. The people here referred to are not the twenty- 
years - in - China - and - not - speak - a - word - of- the - language 
men, but Europeans who have tried to study the 
Chinese sympathetically. As it is, if you were to alter 
their houses and make them less draughty and damp, 
then all their clothing must be altered. That is again 
the case if you try to encourage them to play cricket — 
for which there is no sufficient level space in the west 
of China — or take part in other sports. But if you 
were to attempt to alter their clothing before you had 
rebuilt their houses, they would all be dying of dysentery 
or fever. In like manner, if you attempted to dragoon 
the Chinese into greater cleanliness, or into taking 
certain sanitary precautions, you would require a police 
force, which does not exist. But how to obtain that 
until you have got this self-respecting, self-governing 
people to see any advantage in being dragooned ? 

The solidarity of the Chinese race is one of the 
reasons it has lasted so long upon the earth, and its 
civilisation remained the same. It is twenty-one 
centuries since the Emperor Tze Hoang-ti said " Good 
government is impossible under a multiplicity of 


Intimate China ^ . 

masters," and did away with the feudal system. It 
is twelve centuries since the Chinese found out what 
Burns only taught us the other day, that " A man's a 
man for a' that," and, giving up the idea of rank, began 
to fill posts by competitive examinations. Another of 
their most remarkable methods we shall probably copy 
whenever we begin seriously to consider Imperial 
Federation. They never send any man to be an 
official in his own province. Thus we should have 
Canadian officials in places of trust here or in Australia, 
and Australians in England or Canada. And to each 
province in China so many Goz'ernment posts, civil and 
military, are assigned. If England had followed this 
method, there might be the United States of England 
-now instead of America, for no system is better calcu- 
lated to knit closely together the outlying regions of 
a great empire, than that in accordance with which 
every official in turn has to be examined as to his 
qualifications for office at the capital, and to return 
there to pay his respects to his sovereign before 
entering upon each new office. 

The contemplation of China is discouraging : to 
think it got so far so long ago, and yet has got no 
farther ! The Emperor Hoang-ti, who lived 200 B.C., 
may be supposed to have foreseen the deadening effect 
that government by literary men has upon a nation, 
fior he burnt all their books except those that treat of 
practical arts. He was even as advanced as Mr 
Auberon Herbert, and warned rulers against the 
multiplication of unnecessary laws. Laotze, China's 


-Pi Experiment in Socialism 

greatest sage, although too spiritually-minded a man to 
have gained such a following as was afterwards obtained 
by Confucius, again insists that the spiritual weapons 
of this world cannot be formed by laws and regulations : 
" Prohibitory enactments, and too constant inter- 
meddling in political and social matters, merely produce 
the evils they are intended to avert. The ruler is 
above all things to practise zvii-wei, or inaction." 

The Chinese, it seems, experimented in socialism 
eight centuries ago. The Emperor Chin-tsung II., at 
a very early age, and led thereto by Wu-gan-chi, the 
compiler of a vast encyclopaedia, conceived the idea 
that " the State should take the entire management of 
commerce, industry, and agriculture into its own hands, 
with the view of succouring the working classes and 
preventing their being ground to the dust by the rich." 
To quote again from W. D. Babington's Fallacies of 
Race Theories: ''The poor were to be exempt from 
taxation, land was to be assigned to them, and seed- 
corn provided. Every one was to have a sufficiency ; 
there were to be no poor and no over-rich. The 
literati in vain resisted the innovations, the fallacy of 
which they demonstrated from their standpoint. The 
specious arguments of the would-be reformer convinced 
the young Emperor and gained the favour of the people. 
Wu-gan-chi triumphed. The vast province of Shensi 
was chosen as the theatre for the display of the great 
social experiment that was to regenerate mankind. The 
result was failure, complete and disastrous. The people, 
neither driven by want nor incited by the hope of 

545 N N 

Intimate China ^ ' 

gain, ceased to labour ; and the province was soon in 
a fair way to become a desert." Mencius, Confucius' 
greatest follower, taught that " the people are the 
most important element in the country, and the ruler 
is the least." Mencius openly said that if a ruler did 
not rule for his people's good it was a duty to resist 
his authority and depose him. 

Whilst other nations have vaguely asked Quis cus- 
iodiet custodes ? the Chinese invented the College of 
Censors and the Tribunal of History, both selected 
from their most distinguished scholars. It is the duty 
of Censors to remonstrate with the Emperor when 
necessary, as well as to report to the College, or to the 
Emperor himself, any breach of propriety in courts of 
justice or elsewhere. They have no especial office but 
to notice the doings of other officials. The Tribunal of 
History is busy recording the events of each Emperor's 
reign ; but no Emperor has ever seen what is written 
about him, nor is any history published till the 
dynasty of which it treats is at an end. Chinese history 
is full of examples of the courage and adherence to 
truth with which the members of this tribunal have 
been inspired. 

It is all so beautiful in description, one sighs in 
thinking it over. But it must be remembered that it 
was yet more beautiful, startlingly beautiful, at the 
period of the world's history when it was all originated, 
and that to this day the Chinese peasant enjoys a degree 
of liberty and jmmunity from Government interference 
unknown on the Continent of Europe. There is no 


-») An Ideal System of Civilisation 

passport system ; he can travel where he pleases ; he 
can form and join any kind of association ; his Press 
was free till the Empress Tze Hsi, probably inspired by 
Russian influence, issued her edict against it in 1898 ; 
his right of public meeting and free speech are still 
unquestioned. PubHc readers and trained orators travel 
about the country instructing the people. The system 
of appealing to the people by placarding the walls has 
been very far developed in China. There is there 
complete liberty of conscience. And at the same time, 
as all people who know China will testify, the moral 
conscience of the people is so educated that an appeal to 
it never falls flat, as it often would in England. Try 
to stop two men fighting, saying it is wrong to fight, 
and you will hear no one say in China, '' Oh, let them 
fight it out!" Appeal to the teaching of Confucius, 
and every Chinaman will treat you with respect, and 
at least try to appear guided by it. How far in 
Europe would this be the case with a citation from the 
Bible ? 

The system of education, the crippling of the women 
by footbinding, and consequent enfeebling of the race, 
together with the subsequent resort to opium-smoking, 
are the three apparent evil influences that spoil what 
otherwise seems so ideal a system of civilisation. Pos- 
sibly we should add to this, that the system of Confucius — 
China's great teacher — is merely a system of ethics, and 
that thus for generations the cultured portion of the 
nation has tried to do without a religion, although falling 
back upon Taoism and Buddhism to meet the needs of 


Intimate China ^«- 

the human heart. That any civilisation should have lasted 
so ^long v^ithout a living religion is surprising. But 
Buddhism has evidently had an enormous influence upon 
China, though its temples are crumbling now, its priests 
rarely knowing even its first elements. The good that 
it could do for China it has done. And now another 
influence is needed. 

By Mrs. Archibald Little. 





Reform Club. — Chinese Ladies' Public Dinner. — 
High School for Girls. — Chinese Lady Doctors 
insisting on Religious Liberty. — Reformers' Dinner. 
• — The Emperor at the Head of the Reform Party. — 
Revising Examination Papers. — Unaware of Coming 
Danger.— Russian Minister's Reported Advice. 

ON February 12th, 1896, a newspaper correspondent 
wrote from Peking : '' The Reform Club estab- 
lished a few months ago, which gave such promise 
of good things to come, and which has been referred 
to frequently in the public prints in China, has burst. 
It has been denounced by one of the Censors, and the 
Society has collapsed at once. The Club has been 
searched, the members, some fifty or more Hanlin 
scholars, have absconded, and the printers have been 
imprisoned. Such is the end, for the present at least, 
of what promised to be the awakening of China. It 


Intimate China ^ 

was initiated and supported largely at least by three 
well-known foreigners, two of them well-known mis- 
sionaries, and it met with much support and encourage- 
ment from all classes. Its little Gazette was latterly 
enlarged and its name changed. One or more trans- 
lators were engaged to translate the best articles 
from the English newspapers and magazines, of which 
some two dozen or more were ordered for the Club. 
The members contributed liberally, we understand, 
towards its expenses ; and if ever there was hope of 
new life being instilled into the old dry bones of China, 
it was certainly confidently looked for from this young, 
healthy, and vigorous Society. It has been conducted, 
w^e believe, with great ability ; differences among the 
leaders have cropped up, but after discussions the affairs 
of the Club have each time been placed on a more 
secure and lasting basis. Foreign dinners at a native 
hotel have been part of the programme ; and this element 
is not to be despised by any means. The Chinese 
transact nearly all their important business at the tea- 
shops and restaurants, and certainly a good dinner and 
a glass of champagne help wonderfully to smooth 
matters. We regret exceedingly the decease of the 
Reform Club." 

People in general laughed about it a little. There 
had before been the short statement : "A Censor has 
impeached the new Hanlin Reform Club, and it has been 
closed by Imperial rescript." 

Thomas Huxley once wrote that " with wisdom 
and uprightness even a small nation might make its way 


Ladies' Public Dinner 


orthily ; no sight in the world is more saddening and 
revolting than is offered by men sunk in ignorance of 
everything except what other men have written, and 
seemingly devoid of moral belief and guidance, yet 
with their sense of literary beauty so keen and their 
power of expression so cultivated that they mistake 
their own caterwauling for the music of the spheres." 

It was in this strain Europeans in the East 
meditated. But on returning to China in the autumn 
of 1897, I found in Shanghai evidences of progress 
and reform on all sides. A Chinese newspaper, 
generally spoken of in English as Chinese Progress, was 
being issued regularly, and newspapers edited by friends 
of its editor were coming out in Hunan and even in 
far-away Szechuan. The Chinese *' Do-not-bind-feet " 
Society of Canton had opened an office in one of the 
principal streets of Shanghai, and was memorialising 
Viceroys, as also the Superintendents of Northern and 
Southern trade. Directly on arrival I received an invi- 
tation to a public dinner in the name of ten Chinese 
ladies, of whom I had never heard before. It was to 
be in the large dining-hall in a Chinese garden in the 
Bubbling Well Road, the fashionable drive of Shanghai, 
and by degrees I found all my most intimate friends 
were invited. We agreed with one another to go, 
though wondering a good deal what the real meaning 
of the invitation was, and why we were selected. The 
hall is a very large one, sometimes used for big balls, 
with rooms opening off it on either side ; and after the 
English ladies had laid aside their wraps in a room to 


Intimate China "^ 

the right — one or two Chinese gentlemen, who had 
evidently been superintending the arrangement of the 
dinner, encouraging them to do so — we asked where 
our Chinese hostesses were. They were already assem- 
bled in the rooms opening off the hall to the left, and 
I still remember the expression of intense anxiety on 
the Chinese gentlemen's faces as they saw us leave 
them and advance to join their womenkind, none 
of whom spoke any English, nor knew anything ot 
English ways and manners. At first the Chinese 
ladies did not exactly receive us ; but when we began 
to go round and bow to each lady in turn, after the 
Chinese fashion, one after another stood up and smilingly 
greeted us. Then those of us who could talked 
Chinese, and one or two of the Chinese ladies began to 
move about, exhibiting the ground-plan of a proposed 
school for the higher education of Chinese young ladies. 
And thus gradually we began to understand what it 
was all about. But on that occasion it was the English 
ladies who were frivolous, the Chinese who were serious. 
For they were so elaborately dressed, so covered with 
ornaments, English ladies were always breaking off 
and saying, " Oh, do allow me to admire that bracelet ! " 
or "What lovely embroidery!" whilst the Chinese 
ladies very earnestly pointed at their ground-plan, and 
looked interrogations. It gradually came out that it was 
the Manager of the Telegraph Company and his friends 
who were bent upon starting this school ; that this being 
a new departure they thought it well for the ladies 
interested to confer with the ladies of other nations 


-^ Daughter of the Modern Sage 

accustomed to education ; and that, considering who 
was likely to be helpful, they had asked a few missionary 
ladles, and all the officers and committee of the T'len 
Tsu Hul ('' Natural Feet Society "), thinking that the 
foreign ladles, who had started that, must be interested 
in helping Chinese women. 

Presently we were summoned to dinner by an 
intimation, " Chinese ladies to the left, foreign ladies to 
the right ! " " Because of the fire," was added sotto voce, 
for Chinese, In their often triple furs, have naturally a 
horror of fires ; but we refused to be thus summarily 
separated, as we sat down about two hundred women to 
a dinner served In the foreign style, with champagne, 
etc., and w^ere rather alarmed to find our hostesses 
allowing their little children to drink as freely of 
champagne as of their own light Chinese wines. 

That dinner was the beginning of an Interchange of 
civilities between foreign and Chinese ladies such as 
had never occurred before. The daughter of Kang, 
commonly called the Modern Sage, after the title given 
to Confucius, was naturally one of these ladles. She 
wore Manchu dress, which puzzled us, as she is 
Cantonese. Her father had never allowed her feet to 
be bound, and she had herself written an article against 
•binding, which had appeared In a Chinese newspaper ; 
thus she, like several other Chinese ladies, considered 
the dress of the Manchus, who never bind feet, the 
most convenient. The relations of Mr. Liang, editor of 
Chinese Progress, were also present. At the subsequent 
meetings some of the Chinese ladies pleaded earnestly 


Intimate China 

that Europeans should take shares in the school. They 
did not want their money, they said, but feared that 
unless there were European shareholders their Govern- 
ment might seize all the funds. The European ladies, 

however, could never 
quite satisfy themselves 
as to the various, 
guarantees necessary. 
There were, indeed, 
many difficulties about 
starting this new school,. 
as may be seen by the 
following letter, writtea 
by two Chinese lady 
doctors, who had been 
asked in the first in- 
stance to undertake its 
management. They 

had been educated in 
America, where they 
had passed all the 
necessary examinations 
very brilliantly ; and it 
was the idea of the lustre they had thus conferred 
upon their own nation in a foreign land, that had first 
led a wealthy ship-owner, running steamers on the 
Poyang Lake, to conceive the idea of a school for 
girls. It had been warmly taken up by the late tutor 
of the ladies of the Imperial Household, who had been 
dismissed from his post because of his radical notions, 



^ Lady Doctors' Letter 

and was thus free to devote himself to advancing 
education generally. The Manager of the Telegraph 
Company then became the leader, and the prospectus of 
the school was published in the North China Herald, 
with the names of the two Chinese lady doctors as its 
managers. On which they wrote the following letter to 
the editor, which, as I afterwards ascertained, was bond 
fide written by themselves, not at foreign instigation. 
They even refused to accept any corrections, saying if 
they wrote it at all it must be their own letter. It is 
so striking as the composition of Chinese women, that I 
am sure I shall be pardoned for giving it in extenso, 

'' Sir, — In your issue of December 24th appeared 
a translation of the prospectus of a school in Shanghai 
for Chinese girls ; and since our names were given to 
the public as would-be teachers, we hope you will permit 
a word of much-needed explanation. If you, Mr. Editor, 
give such welcome to this sign of progress as is expressed 
in your editorial, then much more should those of our 
own people, who may be prepared to appreciate its 
possibilities. Yet the joy might not be without alloy. 

'' Several months ago the prospectus was brought 
to us as yet in an unfinished state, and parts of the 
first and last clauses referring to the establishment of 
Confucianism did not appear. Had these been there, 
we should not have allowed our names to go down 
as teachers. In making this statement, we realise that 
we only escape the charge of ' narrow-mindness ' by the 
fact that we decidedly are not foreigners. We love 


Intimate China ^ 

our native China too much to fail to realise the truth 
in your admission ' that a slavish adherence to Con- 
fucianism alone has done far too much to limit and 
confine the Chinese mind for centuries,' and It is 
because we are not hopeful of the result ' when re- 
verence for Confucianism Is to be combined with the 
study of Western languages and sciences ' that we 
cannot lend ourselves to the project as It seems to be 
drifting. It was with the express understanding that 
there should be entire religious liberty, that we con- 
sented to take up this work, and religious liberty would 
admit all who found moral and spiritual support In 
Confucianism to avail themselves of It. The tablets, 
that Confucianism cherished, might be set up by Its 
supporters near the school, but not In the grounds : as 
might Christian churches be opened, if friends were 
found to build them. Such a course would conserve 
liberty of conscience. 

" Now, according to the prospectus published in 
that very excellent Chinese journal The Progress, twice 
a year sacrifices are to be made In this school to 
posthumous tablets of Confucius and such worthy patrons 
of the school as may be honoured by a place In Its 
pantheon. Had the statement been made that twice 
a year days would be set apart as memorial days to 
these distinguished personages, upon which occasions 
their lives should be reviewed to us In a manner to 
inspire young girls by their examples, no one would 
join more heartily In paying honour to their memory 
than ourselves. But the Idea of sacrifice to human 


^ The Religious Difficulty 

beings seems too blind in the light of this nineteenth 
century for any participation on our part. We have 
seen other countries, and learned of the sages of other 
lands ; and although it may be only because of pre- 
judice, yet we can truly say that we honour none as 
we do our own Confucius. But honour to the best 
of human beings is not unmixed blessing when it 
creates an idol and holds the eyes of the devotees 
down to earth. We do not think it the sentiment 
that will make the education of women successful or 
even safe. The educational institutions for women 
during the time of the Three Dynasties were not of 
the excellent things that Confucius sought to re- 
establish. Had he done so, how^ could he have uttered 
such words as these ? — ' Of all people girls and servants 
are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar 
to them, they lose their humility. If you maintain 
your reserve, they are discontented ' (see Legges 
Classics). Alas that we have no record that the 
Master ever turned his attention to a remedy for such 
a sad state of aftairs ! 

'* One there was who never spoke in disparaging 
tone to or of women. Only His sustaining counsel 
could give us courage to start out upon the path- 
way, slippery as it must needs be in the present 
stage of China's civilisation, along which educated 
women must needs pick their way. We do not feel 
that we should be doing our country-women best 
service in starting them out with only a Confucian 


Intimate, China ^ 

" This prospectus Is, no doubt, intended to be a 
working-plan that will carry the co-operation of the 
largest number. We realise it is easier to see its 
inconsistencies than to unite opposing factions. Doubt- 
less it embraces a truly progressive element In the 
land which has compromised under the proposed cult. 
The articles at first brought to us contained two 
sections aimed against concubinage and girl-slavery. 
When we reflect upon these destroyers that have fixed 
upon the vitals of Chinese home life, and then read 
the substitution of the words referring to Shanghai 
girls, ' especially in the Settlements,' Mencius' words 
recur to us (see Legge s Classics) : ' Here is a man 
whose fourth finger is bent and cannot be stretched 
out straight. ... If there be any one who can make 
it straight, he will not think the way from Tsin to 
Ts'oo far to go. . . . When a man's finger is not like 
that of other people, he knows he feels dissatisfied ; 
but if his mind differs, he feels no dissatisfaction. 
This is called '' Ignorance of the relative importance 
of things ! " ' We fear the day of our Chinese deliverance 
is not quite at hand. 

" The Spirit that can mould the hearts of men has 
been abroad and wrought in the hearts of many, or 
they would not so ardently desire something progressive ; 
but we regret to see it quenched even in a reviving 
flood of Confucianism. Let us intreat you, friends of 
China's progress, to lend your influence to the leaders 
of our people, that they strive not to bottle the 
new wine (spirit) of progress in old bottles, ' else the 


^ First High School for Girls 

bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the 

bottles perish.' 

" Mary Stone, of Hupeh, 
*' Ida KAHN,.of Kiangsi. 

"KiUKiANG, December i']th, 1897." 

Somehow, however, all difficulties were surmounted, 
and in June, 1898, I had the pleasure of writing the 
following account of the first high school for girls 
opened in China : 

'* Turning off to the left from the long green avenue 
but a few minutes before arriving at the Arsenal, the 
visitor comes upon the pretty conglomeration of build- 
ings in which the much-talked-of Chinese young ladies' 
school has now actually been opened. There are the 
usual Chinese courtyards, with somewhat more than 
the usual fantastic Chinese decoration, ornamental tiles 
making open screens rather than walls, through which 
the wind can blow freely, yet at the same time giving 
a feeling of privacy ; as also writhing dragons and 
birds and beasts. It is quite Chinese, and very pretty 
and aesthetic. But the windows are foreign, and there 
is no house in the European settlement more airy, nor 
perhaps so clean. 

'' But the matter of Interest is not the building, 
nor the furniture, but the teachers and the taught. 
There they stood, the sixteen young girls, who are 
the first promise of the regeneration of China ; and 
judged as young girls they certainly promised re- 
markably well. It is natural to suppose that several 


Intimate China ^ 

of them are the children of parents of more than 
ordinary enlightenment. But whether they are or 
not, they certainly looked it. Their manners were 
naturally very superior to those of the girls one is 
accustomed to see in Chinese schools. They were 
readier to laugh and see a joke. But if some of those 
girls do not decidedly distinguish themselves in the 
years to come, it will be the fault of their instructors, 
or I am no physiognomist. They were busy with 
reading-books, and the teacher, a nice quiet-looking 
Chinese woman, had not the least idea of showing 
them off, so it was hard to test them. She said she 
could not say yet herself which were the brightest 
girls. Several had natural feet, and most of the others 
were eager to state they had ''let out" their feet. 
None were the least smartly dressed, but several had 
very well-dressed hair, and were very neatly shod. 
One girl had the Manchu shoe without that objection- 
able heel in the middle, that must make walking on 
it like walking upon stilts. 

" The bedrooms were all upstairs, four girls In a 
room, and nothing could have looked cleaner and neater 
than the arrangements : white mosquito curtains round 
the bed, a box under each for the girl's clothes, a stool 
for her to sit upon ; one shining wardrobe amongst 
the four ; a washstand with rail at the back on which 
to hang towels, and a looking-glass In the centre. The 
teachers had rooms to themselves. The teacher of 
sewing was upstairs, with only too exquisitely fine work 
all ready to spoil the poor girls' eyes and exercise 


^ Inauguration Dinner 

their patience. There was another lady, who has 
been teaching drawing in the Imperial Palace, painting 
for the Empress there. Whether she is only on a 
visit to recover her health, or is now teaching drawing 
in this school— they have a drawing mistress — I did 
not quite make out. But she is the sort of woman 
whom one seems to know, by her clever, thoughtful, 
extremely observant face, before ever speaking to her ; 
and when I found she was from Yunnan, we sat and 
chatted about ' Mount Omi and Beyond ' in quite a 
friendly way. One of Miss Heygood's Chinese pupils 
is to come in on Monday and begin teaching English, 
as they think a Chinese teacher will do for a beginning. 
Probably she will understand Chinese difficulties better 
than any of us could. But it is a question whether her 
pronunciation can be quite satisfactory. 

*' A good deal of the furniture was foreign, and 
it seemed to be all foreign in the long reception-room, 
to be eventually used as a class-room, where on 
Wednesday, June ist, a large company of foreign 
ladies sat down to a most excellent Chinese dinner, 
with knives and forks for those who wanted, and 
champagne served freely. The two previous days 
gentlemen had been received, and June 2nd was to 
be exclusively for Chinese ladies. One of the daughters 
of Mr. King, Manager of the Telegraphs, presided at 
one end of the table at which I was, and his daughter- 
in-law sat at the other end. There was another table 
in an adjoining room. Mrs. Shen Tun-ho and Mrs. 
King Lien-shan had cards printed in English with 

561 00 

Intimate China ^ 

' Chinese Girl School Committee ' in the corner. Mrs. 
Mei Shen-in had on hers, ' Native Director of Chinese 
Female School.' 

''It is difficult for ladies to decide what guarantee 
is obtainable that any money they may contribute will 
be well used, and not diverted from the purpose for 
which it is intended. But if some of the active business 
men of Shanghai can make the necessary inquiries on 
these heads, certainly what was to be seen on June ist 
sufficiently spoke for the great energy and care dis- 
played by the Ladies' Committee, and Mr. King, who 
is understood to be the prime mover in the matter. 
Every detail seemed to have been well seen after. 
Even baths and a bath-room are provided. Each girl 
is only to pay six shillings a month ; and this being 
so, it is not to be wondered at that already another 
house is being secured, and there are promises of 
sufficient girl pupils already to fill it. There is also 
talk of opening another girls' school." 

And now in 1899 I hear that already a third school 
for girls has been started by Mr. King, whose energy 
in the matter is the more to be admired when it is 
considered that he is so deaf all communication with 
him has to be carried on in writing. But, alas for 
China ! Mr. Timothy Richard, the inspiring secretary 
of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General 
Knowledge, has had to take over the schools and put 
in a European manager, to save them from the Empress 
Tze Hsi's grasping fingers. 

But a few days after the ladies' dinner — a very merry 


Reformers' Dinner 

one — we were invited by three Chinese gentlemen to 
meet the Mr. Wen before mentioned as late tutor to 
the ladies of the Imperial Household. There were only 
four other Europeans, and a little party of Chinese men. 



Lent by Rev. Gilbert Rcid. 

all members of the Retorm party. It is perhaps as well 
not to give their names, two of that little company 
being at this moment under sentence of death them- 
selves, together with all their relations. When last 
heard of they were hiding, but some of their relations 

Intimate China ^ 

had been seized. The dinner was a very sad one. 
They had evidendy invited Europeans as a drowning 
man catches at a straw, to see if they- could devise 
anything to save the Chinese people. But to each 
suggestion made they said it w^as impossible. There 
was nothing — nothing to be done at Peking. Cor- 
ruption prevailed over everything there. There was 
nothing — nothing to be done with the various Viceroys. 
There was nothing to be done by an appeal to the 
people. The only thing was to go on writing and 
writing, translating from foreign languages, and thus 
gradually educating the people in what might be useful 
to them. The memory of that dinner cannot easily 
pass from those present. Some of us walked away 
together too sad for words, and all that evening a great 
cloud of depression rested over us. For we felt we 
had witnessed despair ; and when a Chinaman, usually 
so impassive, gives w^ay, it makes the more impression. 

But then happened the astonishing, as always occurs 
in China ; and when next heard of, the Emperor of 
China himself, the youthful Kwang-shti, was at the 
head of the Progress party. All that has been told 
of Kwang-shii has always been very interesting and 
pleasing. Chinese people all speak well of him, and 
say he wishes for his country's good. But then they 
shrug their shoulders, for they have always maintained 
he has no power. At one time he was said to be 
studying English, at another reading Shakespeare in 
translation. On the occasion of the Empress Tze 
Hsi's sixtieth birthday all Christian women in China 


^. Emperor sends for Testament 

were invited to subscribe for a handsome copy of the 
New Testament, which was eventually presented to 
her in a silver casket beautifully chased with a fine 
relief of bamboo-trees. The Chinese version was 
specially revised for this presentation, in which Christian 
Chinese women took the greatest interest. No sooner 
had the book been presented than the Emperor sent 
an eunuch round to ask for a copy of the same volume. 
There was not as yet any copy of quite the same 
version, and the one sent was in the course of a few 
hours returned with several comments, understood to 
be in the Emperor's own handwriting, pointing out 
the differences, and asking that the same version might 
be sent to him. He at the same time applied for 
copies of the other books prepared by Europeans for 
the instruction of Chinese. 

In 1894 he took one of those sudden steps that 
a little recall some actions of the German Emperor, 
and signified his intention to look over each essay and 
poem himself, and place the competitors at the Peking 
examination according to their excellence. It may be 
imagined what was the astonishment and consternation 
of the examining board of high Ministers of State, who 
had just examined them, and marked out the standing 
ot each man according to their own inclinations. There 
were two hundred and eight competitors, and It took 
the Emperor three whole days to look over the papers. 
At the end of that time the list was turned nearly 
upside-down, for three men placed amongst the last 
by the examining board were now marked out by the 


Intimate China ^ 

Emperor as among the six entitled to the highest 
honours. Amongst the competitors was the lately 
returned Minister to the United States, Spain, and 
Peru. He had a brevet button of the second rank ; 
and having lately received the post of Senior Deputy 
Supervisor of Instruction to the Heir Apparent, he 
had to present himself as a competitor — notwithstanding 
his years and previous services abroad. In the list of 
the examining board he stood amongst the first thirty, 
and was recommended to a higher post of honour. In 
the Emperor's list he was placed in the third class ; 
and in the decree classifying the essayists, in which the 
Emperor stated definitely that he had done so after 
himself looking over each paper, this ex- Minister was 
ordered to take off his brevet second-rank button, 
being degraded from the post of Deputy Supervisor 
to that of Junior Secretary of the Supervisorate. There 
were many other changes made of the same nature. 

Naturally such an action did not tend to establish 
the youthful Emperor in the good graces of the more 
corrupt of his counsellors. But it showed energy and 
initiative, uncommon in Chinamen, also a desire to do 
his duty and right wrongs. It is certainly unfortunate 
for himself that he did not from the outset set to work 
to make to himself friends of the mammon of un- 
righteousness. But brought up from his earliest years 
as an Emperor, it is not unnatural that he should have 
expected all people to bow down before his will as soon 
as he asserted it. And it is a little unreasonable to 
expect from a young man, palace born and bred, who 


^ Coup d'Etat quite unexpected 

never even once had taken a country walk or ride, or 
enjoyed liberty of any kind, the character of a Bismarck 
or a Napoleon. That his advisers were equally un- 
aware of the dangers awaiting him is shown by their 
having taken no precautions even to save themselves. 
It was indeed Kwang-shii who advised Kang to fly 
from Peking, not Kang who advised Kwang-shii to be 
careful. And that the plot that dethroned the young 
Emperor was kept carefully secret is also shown by 
the British Minister, a man of experience, and who 
has travelled about the world, and is of course amply 
provided with all the necessary means for obtaining 
information, being actually absent from Peking at the 
time, which naturally he never would have been had 
he known the crisis was imminent. The German 
and American Ministers were also absent, and, more 
remarkable still, Sir Robert Hart, Inspector-General of 
Chinese Imperial Customs. The moment was indeed 
probably chosen in consequence by the Empress. 

Surrounded by temptations — his aunt and adopted 
mother is openly accused of having tried to teach 
him to take delight in cards and wine, and it is one 
of her duties both to select a wife for him and to 
surround him with concubines — the young man seems 
to show rather the disposition of an anchorite. All 
testimonies agree that he is not of a vigorous physique : 
indeed, bred and nurtured as he has been, how could 
he be.'^ In health, as in many other ways, he always 
recalls to me our own Prince Leopold, the late Duke 
of Albany. 


intimate China ^ 

It is greatly to be regretted that when that very 
amiable, gentle-looking young man, now Czar of Russia, 
was in China, he and the young Emperor of China 
did not meet. Both apparently have aspirations, both 
are weighted by a weight of empire no one man can 
sustain single-handed, both surrounded by powerful, 
unscrupulous men, who will not hesitate to wield their 
well-intentioned and apparently sincere nominal rulers to 
their own advantage, as also possibly to the destruction 
of those nominal sovereigns. 

There is a curious tale told that a late Russian 
Minister at Peking acquired a great influence over the 
Chinese Emperor by speaking to him after this style : 
" There are but few countries now that are regulated 
in accordance with the principles of decorum. In 
England and Germany it is true there are emperors, 
but in England it is six-tenths the people's will and 
only four-tenths the sovereign's. In Germany it is 
rather better : there it is six-tenths the Emperor and 
four-tenths the people. As to France and America 
— dreadful — dreadful ! Only China and Russia are 
properly constituted countries, where the Emperor 
governs and the people obey, according to the will of 
Heaven. What friends, then, ought not these two 
countries to be, and how- terrible for Russia it would be 
if China were to fall, for then she would stand alone, 
the one properly constituted empire in the world 1 
Equally, how dreadful it would be for China if Russia 
were to fall away ! As for us, we cannot feel easy 
about China. We remember that after all your Imperial 


^. Russian Minister's Advice to Emperor 

Majesty's is an alien dynasty, governing over a people 
of another race, the Chinese, and your capital is so 
near the frontier you could easily be pushed over the 
border. Your Imperial Majesty should really take pre- 
cautions to establish yourself more safely. Now, all 
positions of high honour are in the hands of Chinese, 
who might easily band together and depose the reigning 
dynasty. As each high position falls vacant, Chinese 
should be replaced by Manchus ; then alone would you 
be safely established on the throne of your ancestors, 
and Russia could feel safe, knowing China to be so." 

Thus and much more. Such conversations can 
be easily overheard and repeated by the crowds of 
attendants always present at interviews in China. It 
was repeated to me in June, 1898. I did not know 
if correctly or not. I do not know now. But 
for the last year high post after high post has been 
conferred upon Manchus, than which no policy could 
be more unwise, for it is calculated to exasperate 
the Chinese ; nor have the Manchus, who have lone 
ago lost their manliness, living as pensioners of the 
Court, any longer the capacity for government. 




Kang Yii-wei. — China MaiVs Interview. — Be- 
heading of Reformers. — Relatives sentenced to 
Death. — Kang's Indictment of Empress. — Empress's 
Reprisals. — Emperor's Attempt at Escape. — Can- 
tonese Gratitude to Great Britain. — List of Emperor's 
Attempted Reforms. — Men now in Power. — Lord 
Salisbury's Policy in China. 

IN considering the recent bolt from the blue, as it 
seemed to the outside world, at Peking, it is 
necessary to say a few words more about the Reform 
leaders. Kang Yli-wei, commonly called the Modern 
Sage, is a Cantonese. He has brought out a new- 
edition of the ancient Classics, which he contends have 
been so glossed over by numbers of commentators as 
to have lost their original significance. In especial he 
says the personality of God was originally clearly stated 
in them, that it is the commentators who have hidden 
this, and that only by a return to the belief in a living 
God can China once more take her proper place among 
the nations. He also insists upon the brotherhood of 
man. Missionaries, who know him, dwell upon his 
learning and enthusiasm. The only British Consul, I 
have heard speak of him, dwelt rather upon his want 


^ Kang, the Modern Sage 

of practicality, and described him as a visionary of about 
forty and impracticable. He saw him, however, at 
the most agitating moment of his career, during his 
flight from Peking. When it is considered that he is 
a man of not large means, who has no official post, 
who must have devoted his time mainly to study to 
have passed the examinations he has and revised the 
Classics, and that at this comparatively early age he 
is the undoubted leader of the army of youthful literati 
of China, a man in whom those I have spoken with 
seem to have unbounded confidence, it is clear that this 
account of him must be a little overdrawn. Probably 
he is not a practical man. But that he has evidently 
an extraordinary gift for winning and guiding adherents 
cannot be denied. A representative of the China Mail 
describes him as *' an intelligent-looking Chinese of 
medium height, but not of unusually striking appearance. 
For a native who does not speak any Western language, 
Kang has imbibed a wonderful amount of ideas " [this 
is only a rather amusing instance of European super- 
ciliousness], and the impression he left upon his 
interviewer was that he has a firmer grasp of the situa- 
tion than the majority of his compatriots. It may 
be considered that some of his views are those of a 
visionary, but there can be no doubt of his earnestness ; 
and it must be borne in mind that there never yet 
was a reformer in any country whose views were not 
at first believed to be outside the range of practical 
politics. For those who are interested in the present 
crisis in China, it is better to give the China MaiFs 


Intimate China -^ 

interview with Kang Yii-wei, to be followed by his 
own open letter to the papers. 

" Before proceeding with the Interview, Kang wished 
to thank the British people for the kind protection 
they had afforded him, and for the interest the English 
people were taking in the advancement of the political 
and social status of China and the emancipation of the 
Emperor. He also wished to explain that the reason 
why he had not consented to an Interview before was 
that he was very much distressed upon learning that 
his brother had been decapitated and that the Emperor 
was reported to be murdered. The excitement and 
anxiety of the past fortnight had unnerved him, and 
he was disinclined to see any one or to discuss the 
events which had led up to his flight from Peking. 

" After this preliminary statement, Kang Yu-wei 
proceeded with his story. 

'''You all know,' he said, 'that the Empress- 
Dowager is not educated, that she Is very conservative, 
that she has been very reluctant to give the Emperor 
any real power In managing the affairs of the empire. 
In the year 1887 it was decided to set aside thirty 
million taels for the' creation of a navy. After the 
battleships Tingyuen, Weiyuen, Chihyiien, Chenyiien, 
and Kingyuen had been ordered, and after providing 
for their payment, the Empress- Dowager appropriated 
the balance of the money for the repair of the Eho 
Park Gardens. Later on, when It was decided to set 
aside or raise thirty million taels for the construction of 
railways, she misappropriated a large portion of the 


^ A Sham Eunuch 

money. The first intention had been to construct the 
raihvay to Moukden, but it was never carried farther 
than Shanhai-kuan, the remainder of the money being 
used for the decoration of the Imperial Gardens. 
Every sensible man knows that railways and a navy 
are essential for the well-being of a country. But in 
spite of the advice of. one or two of her counsellors the 
Empress- Dowager refused to carry on these schemes, 
and thought only of her personal gratification. She has 
been steadily opposed to the introduction of Western 
civilisation. She has never seen many outside people 
— only a few eunuchs in the Palace and a few Ministers 
of State who have access to her.' 

" ' Through whom does she conduct the affairs of 
State ? ' 

" ' Before the Japanese War Li Hung-chang was the 
man she had most confidence in. After the war 
Li Hung-chang was discarded, and she seemed to 
repose most confidence in Prince Kung and Jung Lu, 
As a rule, however, she retains absolute control in her 
own hands. There is a sham eunuch in the Palace, 
who has practically more power than any of the 
Ministers. Li Luen-yen is the sham eunuch's name. 
He is a native of Chihli. Nothing could be done 
without first bribing him. All the Viceroys have got 
their official positions through bribing this man, who 
is immensely wealthy. Li Hung-chang is not to be 
compared with him. Before she handed over the reins 
of government to the Emperor, a year or two ago. 
the Empress-Dowager used to see many Ministers. 


Intimate China 


but since then she 
has only seen 
eunuchs and 
officials belongings 
to the inner de- 
partment. I have 
seen her myself. 
She is of medium 
height and com- 
manding presence, 
rather imperious in 
manner. She has 
a dark, sallow 
complexion, long 
almond eyes, high 
nose, is fairly in- 
telligent- looking,, 
and has expressive 

"In answer to- 
a query, ' Who 
inspired the new 
policy at Peking ? ' 
Kang replied : ' About two years ago two officials,. 
Chang Lin and Wang Ming-luan, sent a memorial 
to the Emperor advising him to take the power 
into his own hands, stating that the Empress- 
Dowager was only the concubine of his uncle, the 
Emperor Hien Feng ; therefore according to Chinese 
law she could not be recognised as the proper 


Lent by Rev. Gilbert Reid. 

^ Scheming Emperors Deposition 

Empress- Dowager. The result of this memorial was 
that the two officials were dismissed for ever. 
They were Vice-Presidents of Boards, one being 
a Manchu and the other a Soochow man. The 
Emperor recognises that the Empress- Dowager is not 
his real mother. Since the Emperor began to display 
an interest in affairs of State, the Empress-Dowager has 
been scheming his deposition. She used to play cards 
with him, and gave him intoxicating drinks, in order to 
prevent him from attending to State affairs. For the 
greater part of the last two years the Emperor has 
been practically a figure-head against his own wishes. 
After the occupation of Kiaochou by the Germans, the 
Emperor was very furious, and said to the Empress- 
Dowager, '*' Unless I have the power, I will not take 
my seat as Emperor ; I will abdicate." The result was 
that the Empress-Dowager gave in to him to a certain 
extent, telling him that he could do as he liked ; but 
although she said this with her lips her heart was 

" ' How do you know this ? ' asked the interviewer. 
' Did you hear it yourself ? ' " 

'' Kang's reply was : ' No, I heard it from other 

"'Who recommended you to the notice of the 
Emperor ? ' 

'' ' I was recommended to the Emperor by Kao 
Hsi-tseng, one of the Censors, a native of Hupeh. 
Then Weng Tung-ho, the Emperor's tutor, who is 
supposed to be one of the most conservative officials 


Intimate China ^ 

in China, but is not actually so, devoted some attention 
to me, and Li Tuan-fen, President of the Board of 
Rites. These officials wished to introduce me to the 
Emperor, to give me some responsible office, and to 
put me beside the Emperor as his adviser. The 
Emperor ordered me to hold a conference with the 
Ministers of the Tsung-li Yamen. On January 3rd 
last the conference took place. All the members of the 
Yamen were present ; I was received with all respect as 
their guest. The conference lasted about three hours. 

*' ' I had to say that everything in China must be 
reformed and follow Western civilisation.' 
" ' How were your suggestions received ? ' 
"'They did not say openly. I could see that the 
majority of them were against reform. The Viceroy 
Jung Lu made the remark, "Why should w^e change 
the manners and customs of our ancestors?" To this 
I replied : '' Our ancestors never had a Tsung-li Yamen 
[Board to deal with foreigners and foreign affairs]. 
Is not this a change?" The first thing I suggested 
was that China should have a properly constituted 
judicial system. — that a foreigner should be engaged 
to work conjointly with myself and some others to 
revise the laws and the Government administrative 
departments. That I hold to be the most important 
change. This must be the basis on which all other 
changes and reforms must rest. The construction of 
railways, the creation of a navy, the revision of the 
educational system, every other reform will follow ; but 
unless we can change the laws and administration all 


■^ In the Footsteps of Peter the Great 

other changes will be next to useless. Unfortunately, 
the Emperor has been pushing on the other reforms 
before preparing the way for them. That has contributed 
to bring about the present crisis. 

" ' The following morning Prince Kung and Weng 
Tung-ho reported the conference to the Emperor. 
Prince Kung was against me, although I have heard 
it said that he admired my abilities, and thought me 
clever and able. But he said of me : " He is talking 
nonsense ; he speaks about changing the ways of our 
ancestors ! " Weng Tung-ho gave my proposals his 

'* ' The outcome of the conference was that I was 
ordered by the Emperor to submit my proposals to him 
in the form of a memorial. The gist of my memorial 
was as follows. I told the Emperor that all the customs 
and ways and manners of his ancestors must be renewed. 
Nothing could be usefully followed so far as Chinese 
history was concerned. I advised the Emperor to 
follow in the footsteps of Japan, or in the footsteps of 
Peter the Great. As a preliminary step I advised the 
Emperor to command all his Ministers of State and 
all the high officials in Peking to go before the places 
where they worshipped the gods, and also to the 
Ancestral Halls, there to make an oath that they were 
determined to introduce reforms. My second suggestion 
was to have the laws and administration revised ; my 
third, that he should open a Communication or De- 
spatch Department, through which any one would be 
able to memorialise the Throne. To illustrate what I 

577 PP 

Intimate China ^ 

considered lacking in the Chinese system, I pointed out 
to the Emperor that the Ministers of the Grand Council 
were the tongue, the Viceroys and Governors of Provinces 
the hands and feet, the Censors the eyes, and the 
Emperor the brain. I said : '' You have no heart, no 
motive power, no proper law, no means of finding out 
the desires and opinions of your people. The responsi- 
bility is too widely diffused ; you cannot carry things 
through effectively. When you want to know anything, 
you refer to your Ministers and Viceroys, who represent 
the tongue and feet ; but these are not thinking organs 
— they can only act upon orders given them." I advised 
the Emperor to select young, intelligent men, well 
imbued with Western ideas, to assist in the regeneration 
of the empire, irrespective of their position, whether 
they were lowly born or of high degree ; that they 
should confer with the Emperor every day and discuss 
the measures for reform, first devoting their energies 
to a revision of the laws and administration. The old 
officials must be dispensed with. I advised him to 
appoint twelve new Departments: — (i) Law Department; 
(2) Treasury ; (3) Education (engaging foreign teachers); 
(4) Legislative Department ; (5) Agriculture ; (6) Com- 
mercial Department ; (7) Mechanical Department ; 
(8) Railway Department; (9) Postal; (10) Mining; 
(11) Army ; (12) Navy, — all the twelve Departments to 
be modelled on Western lines, and foreigners to be 
engaged to advise and assist. Throughout the provinces, 
in every two prefectures, I suggested the establishment 
of a sort of Legislative Council, whose chief duty would 


^ Kang's Advice 

be to give effect to the instructions of the twelve 
Departments, to poHce the country, to introduce sanitary 
measures, to construct roads, to induce the people to 
cultivate the land under modern methods, and to spread 
commerce. Each of these Councils should have a 
President, appointed by the Emperor himself, irrespective 
of birth, degree, or position ; and each President should 
have the liberty to memorialise the Emperor direct, 
in the same manner as Viceroys and Governors of the 
Provinces, to whom he was not to be subject. In effect 
these Presidents were to have the same social rank as 
the Viceroys. The President was also to have the 
power to recommend a man to go to each district to 
co-operate with the gentry and merchant classes in 
giving effect to the new reforms. My memorial also 
showed how funds were to be raised. I pointed out the 
enormous loss of revenue that occurred yearly. Taking 
the magistracy of Nanhai (which is my native district), 
I informed the Emperor that the total revenue derived 
from that district was $240,000 per year, but the actual 
amount going into the Imperial Purse was only some- 
thing over $20,000. I recommended a complete change 
of the system, under which the whole of the revenues 
of the country would go into the Imperial Purse. 
Comparing China with India, and adducing from the 
experience of India the financial resources of China, 
I told the Emperor that from ordinary taxes the sum 
of four hundred million taels could be raised annually, 
and if the likin were abolished and a tariff properly 
adjusted, banknotes issued, stamp duty established, and 


Intimate China ^ 

other financial reforms adopted, at least another three 
hundred million taels could be raised, making in all 
seven hundred million taels. With this money in hand 
it would be an easy thing to get a navy to protect our 
coast and to establish naval colleges for the training 
of officers. State railways could also be constructed 
and other necessary reforms effected. 

" ' I was told that the Emperor was highly pleased, 
and said that he had never seen a better memorial nor 
such a good system as I proposed. He recommended 
the memorial to the consideration of the Tsung-li Yamen 
for report. Prince Kung, Jung Lu, and Hsu Ying-kuei 
were against it ; but the Emperor pressed for a reply, 
which was never given in detail. All the Ministers 
would report was that the memorial was so sweeping, 
that it practically meant the abolition of the present 
great Ministers, and therefore they did not like to 
report upon it themselves. You will have seen in the 
newspapers that the Emperor had already adopted many 
of the recommendations contained in my memorial. 

*' ' 1 also sent to the Emperor two books written 
by myself, one entitled The Refoin^t of Japan and the 
other The Reform of Russia by Peter the Great. 
Subsequently I sent another memorial, advising the 
Emperor to be determined and not to dally with the 
proposals for reform. 

'' ' To this memorial the Emperor replied with an 
Edict. On June i6th I Vv^as granted an audience with 
the Emperor. It lasted for two hours. I was received 
at 5 a.m. in the Jenshow Throne-hall. Port Arthur and 


^ Kang's Description of Emperor 

Talienwan had just been taken over by Russia, and the 
Emperor wore an anxious, careworn expression. The 
Emperor was thin, but apparently in good health. He 
has a straight nose, round forehead, pleasant eyes, is 
clean-shaven, and has a pale complexion. He is of 
medium height. His hands are long and thin. He 
looked very intelligent, and had a kindly expression, 
altogether uncommon amongst the Manchus or even 
amongst the Chinese. He wore the usual official dress, 
but instead of the large square of embroidery on the 
breast worn by the high officials the embroidery in his 
case was round, encircling a dragon, and there were two 
smaller embroideries on his shoulders. He wore the 
usual official cap. He was led in by eunuchs, and took 
his seat on a dais on a large yellow cushion, with his 
feet folded beneath him. He sent his attendants away, 
and we were left alone; but all the time we were con- 
versing his eyes were watching the windows, as if to see 
that no one was eavesdropping. There was a long table 
in front of him with two large candlesticks. I knelt 
at one of the corners of the table, and not on the 
cushions in front of the table which are reserved for 
the high officials. I remained kneeling during the 
whole of the audience. We conversed in the Mandarin 

'* ' The Emperor said to me : " Your books are very 
useful and very instructive." 

'' ' I practically repeated what I said in my memorial 
about the weakness of China being owing to the lack 
of progress. 


Intimate China ^ 

** ' The Emperor said : " Yes, all these Conservative 
Ministers have ruined me." 

'' ' I said to him, " China is very weak now, but it is 
not yet too late to amend.' I gave him the example of 
France after the Franco-Prussian War. In that case 
the indemnity was much greater than China has paid to 
Japan. The territory lost was greater, because France 
had lost two provinces and China had only lost one 
(Formosa). I asked him how it was that France had 
been able to recuperate so rapidly, whereas China had 
done practically nothing during the three years since the 
close of the war. 

'' ' The Emperor listened very attentively, and asked 
me to give the reason. 

" ' I replied that the reason was that M. Thiers issued 
proclamations to the people of France advising the 
abolition of corrupt methods and asking their co- 
operation for the rehabilitation of the country, at once 
instituting reforms which would enable the country to 
recover the ground it had lost. The outcome was that 
the whole population of France was as one man working 
for one single object. Hence its quick recovery. In 
China, however, we have still the old Conservative 
Ministers, who put every obstruction in the way of 
reform ; and I told the Emperor that that was the main 
reason why the country was now in its present sad 
condition, worse oft' than it was three years ago, at the 
close of the China-Japan War. 

*' ' I asked him to look at the difficulties Japan had 
to overcome before she could reform on modern lines. 


-•i Mikado's Example 

There the military or feudal party had more power than 
our present Conservative Ministers, but the Mikado 
adopted the proper course by selecting young and 
intelligent men, junior officials, some of whom he set to 
work out the reforms in the country, whilst others went 
abroad to learn foreign methods, and returned to make 
Japan the powerful country which it is to-day. I 


repeated to him what Peter the Great did to make 
Russia powerful, saying, "You, the Emperor, I would 
ask you to remove yourself from the seclusion in which 
you live. Come boldly forward and employ young and 
intelligent officials. Follow in the footsteps of the three 
rulers of whom I have spoken to you, and you will find 
that the reforms will be more easily carried out than you 
at present imagine. In case China is unable to produce 
a sufficient number of intelligent men to give effect to the 
reforms you initiate, I strongly advocate the employment 
of foreigners, particularly Englishmen and Americans." 


Intimate China ^ 

" ' I said to him : '' You must cut your coat according 
to your cloth,' and advised him to approach the matter 
carefully and deliberately. To illustrate what I meant, I 
pointed out that if he wished to build a palace he must 
obtain plans, then buy the bricks to build the palace 
according to design. " You may be told that China has 
reformed during the last few years. In my opinion 
nothing has been reformed. China has simply done 
what I have advised you not to do. She has been 
buying bricks to build a house before deciding on the 
plan or design ; she is attempting to make a big coat out 
of an insufficient quantity of cloth." I told the Emperor : 
'' Your present Government is just like a building with 
a leaky roof ; the joists are rotten and have been eaten 
by white ants. It is absolutely dangerous to remain 
longer in the building. Not only must you take off the 
roof, but you must take down the whole building, and 
even raze the foundation. How could you expect your 
present old Ministers to reform ? They have never had 
any Western education. They have never studied 
anything thoroughly about Western civilisation, and 
they could not study now if you asked them. They 
have no energy left. To instruct them to carry out 
reforms is like asking your cook to become your tailor, 
your tailor to become your cook, or your barber to 
become your chair-coolie and your chair-coolie to shave 
you. The result of that would be that you would not 
get a good coat, you would get nothing good to eat, 
your head would be hacked. Your Majesty is careful 
to select a proper tailor, a proper cook, a proper barber, 


^ Emperor's Difficulties 

and a proper chair-coolie. But in the administration of 
your empire, which is far more important, you do not 
take so much care as in your own personal affairs." 

" ' To this the Emperor replied : '' I am very sorry ; I 
have practically no power to remove any high Ministers. 
The Empress-Dowager wants to reserve this power in 
her own hands.' 

*' ' I said : "If your Majesty has no power to remove 
Ministers, what you can do is to employ young and 
intelligent officials about you. That would be a step 
better than nothing." 

** 'The Emperor said : '' I know it perfectly well that all 
the Ministers have paid no proper attention to Western 
ideas and do not care to study the progress of the world." 

" ' I said to the Emperor : '' Perhaps it is their wish 
to get a knowledge of Western ideas, but they have too 
much to do under the present system, and they are 
much too old. Their energy is gone. Even if they 
are willing they cannot do it. The chief education of 
China in the study of the Classics is useless, and the 
first thing the Emperor must do is to abolish these 
examinations and establish a system of education on the 
lines of Western countries." I asked the Emperor : 
'* Can you do away with this kind of examination ? " 

'' ' The Emperor said : *' I have realised that whatever 
is learned in Western countries is useful, but whatever is 
learned in China is practically useless, and I will carry 
out your recommendations " ; which he did. I advised 
the Emperor to send his own relations to travel in 
foreign countries in order to learn from them, and that 


Intimate China ^ 

he might be surrounded by men who had experience of 
the world. In conclusion, I said: "There are many 
other things I should like to say, but I can memorialise 
you from time to time." I advised him strongly to 
cement his relations with foreign countries. 



By Mr. Stratford Dugdalc. 

" ' The Emperor replied that the foreign countries 
nowadays were not like the insignificant states of former 
times. They appeared to be highly civilised countries, 
and it was a pity his own Ministers did not realise that 
as he did. A good deal of the trouble seemed to arise 
from their failure to recognise this fact. 

'''In December last I had advised his Majesty to 
form an alliance with Great Britain. Before parting 


-»i First Symptoms of Trouble 

I said to him: "You have given decorations to Li 
Hung-chang and Chang Yin-huan. That is a Western 
act. Why do not you put in your Edicts that you intend 
to introduce Western customs ? " 

" ' The Emperor only smiled. 

" ' From June until I left Peking, I have sent many 
memorials to the Emperor, but have never had another 
audience. . I was allowed to memorialise him direct. 
This is the first time in the present dynasty that an 
individual in my position has been allowed to memorialise 
the Throne direct.' 

"In answer to a question, Kang stated that Chang 
Yin-huan was not associated with him in the proposed 
reforms. He was pleased with the programme of the 
Reformers, but he did not take any active part in pro- 
moting the reforms. All the men arrested were junior 
officials in the various secretariats in Peking, all interested 
in reform. 

" Asked when the first symptoms of trouble appeared, 
Kang stated that the signs of opposition were raised 
when the Emperor issued his Edict dismissing two 
Presidents and four Vice-Presidents, One of these 
Presidents is a relative of the Empress-Dowager — Huai 
Ta-pu, President of the Board of Rites. On the follow- 
ing day Li Hung-chang and Ching Hsin were removed 
from the Tsung-li Yamen. These dismissed officials 
went in a body and knelt before the Empress- Dowager 
and asked for her assistance, saying that if she allov\'ed 
the P^mperor to go on in this way the whole of the old 
officials would soon be dismissed. Then these officials 


Intimate China ^ 

went to Tientsin and saw Jung Lu, who may be said 
to be the best friend of the Empress- Dowager. 
Rumours got about that the Emperor intended to dis- 
pose of the Empress-Dowager, and she then determined 
that Jung Lii should take the first step. That was on 
or about September 14th or 15th. On September ijth 
an open Edict was issued by the Emperor, asking why 
Kang Yii-wei was still in Peking and did not proceed 
to Shanghai at once to attend to the establishment of 
the official organ. ' That was a hint to me to go away. 
An Edict of this sort is generally issued to a Viceroy 
or a Chief General, and not to men of my rank. The 
morning I saw this Edict I was highly astonished. On 
that evening a special private message was sent to me 
by the Emperor. The message was sent in writing. 
Part of it appeared in the China Mail last night. I 
happened to be out, and did not receive the message 
till the morning of September i8th. 

'' ' On the morning of the i8th I received two special 
messages from the Emperor, one dated September i6th 
and the other September 1 7th. The first one read : 

*' ' " We know that the empire is in very troublous 
times. Unless we adopt Western methods It Is impos- 
sible to save our empire ; unless we remove the old- 
fashioned Conservative Ministers and put in their stead 
young and Intelligent men, possessed of a knowledge 
of Western affairs, it Is impossible to carry out the 
reforms we had intended. But the Empress- Dowager 
does not agree with me : I have repeatedly advised 
her Majesty, but she becomes enraged. Now I am 


^ Emperor's Last Letter 

afraid I shall not be able to protect my throne. You 
are hereby commanded to consult your colleagues and 
see what assistance you can give to save me. I am 
very anxious and distressed. I am anxiously waiting 
for your assistance. Respect this." 

*' ' The second message was as follows: ''I have 
commanded you to superintend the establishment of 
the official organ. It is strongly against my wish. I 
have very great sorrow in my heart, which cannot be 
described with pen and ink. You must proceed at once 
outside (abroad), and devise means to save me w^ithout 
a moment's delay. I am deeply affected with your 
loyalty and faithfulness. Please take great care of your 
health and body. I hope that before long you will be 
able to assist me again in reorganising my empire, and 
to put everything upon a proper basis. This is my 
earnest wish." 

*' ' After I received these letters, I had a meeting with 
my colleagues as to the best thing to be done. I saw 
INIr. Timothy Richard, the English missionary, and 
asked him to see the British Minister at once. Un- 
fortunately Sir Claude Macdonald was at Pehtaiho. 
Then I sent to the American Legation, but was told 
that the American Minister had gone to the Western 
Hills. If Sir Claude Macdonald had been at the 
British Legation, I believe measures could have been 
devised to avoid this crisis. 

" ' In the city everything was quiet. There was no 
sign of an impending crisis. Nobody anticipated trouble ; 
nobody was in fear of his life. On the 19th I heard 


Intimate China ^ 

from my friends that the position was getting more 
serious. Up to this time I had remained in my 
quarters in the Canton Club. At four o'clock on 
the morning of the 20th I left the city, passing 
through the gates, leaving all my baggage behind in 
the care of my brother. I retained a compartment in 
the railway carriage, and travelled direct to Tangku by 
rail. At Tientsin I boarded the Indo-China steamer 
Lienshing and asked for a cabin. When the people 
on board saw I had so little baggage they said : " You 
must go and get a ticket at the office before we can 
allow you to come on board." I went back to Tientsin 
again and went into an hotel — not an hotel of my own 
countrymen, but the hotel of another province. I had 
been advised to shave my moustache off and to change 
my dress, but I left myself to fate. I stayed overnight 
at Tientsin, and early in the morning went on board 
the Chtmgking. I had to go as an ordinary Chinese 
passenger, because I was afraid if I asked for a cabin 
I should again be refused a passage on account of the 
absence of baggage. Mr. Timothy Richard offered me 
an asylum at his house, but as I had received instructions 
from the Emperor to proceed abroad I thought it best 
to leave the capital. I got no letter from the British 
Legation ; I had no communication with the British 
Legation. The steamer called at Chefoo, where nothing 
unusual happened. When I arrived at Woosung, the 
British Consul was kind enough to offer me a place 
of safety on board H.M.S. Esk. I believe Mr. Richard 
must have gone to the Legation at Peking, and that 


^ England's Interest to support the Emperor 

instructions were given to the British Consul to be on 
the look-out for me. I was surprised at this, but I am 
very grateful to Messrs. Brenan and Bourne (British 
Consuls) and to the captain of the ship for the kindness 
they showed to me during my stay at Woosung.' 

" * What do you intend to do ? ' 

*' ' The Emperor has instructed me to go abroad and 
procure assistance for him. My intention is to approach 
England in the first instance. England is well known 
to be the most just nation in the world. England has 
twice saved Turkey, once at the sacrifice of twenty 
thousand men and a large sum of money, and I think 
England will come to the assistance of the Emperor 
of China now. While I was in Shanghai, I requested 
the British Consul to wire to the Foreign Office at 
home asking for this assistance to his Majesty. Per- 
sonally, I think it is to England's interest to take this 
opportunity to support the Emperor and the party of 
progress, for by so doing they will be helping the 
people of China as well, and the people of China 
will consider England as their best and truest friend. 
If England does not take steps now, I am afraid that 
when the Siberian Railway is finished Russian influence 
will predominate throughout the whole of China. If 
England succeeds in replacing the Emperor on the 
throne, I have no hesitation in saying that the Emperor 
and the Reform leaders will not forget her kindness. 
When I left Peking, the Emperor was still in good 

*' Before leaving Kang was asked if he had anything 


Intimate China ^ 

further to add to the Interview — anything he had 

'' He repHed : ' I should hke It to be stated that when 
I saw the Emperor I said I did not go to Peking for 
money or position. I simply went there to try to do 
my best to save the four hundred millions of China. 
I told him I would not take any high position until I 
had been instrumental In carrying through the proposals 
for reform I had made to him ; then I would accept 
anything his Majesty was pleased to give me. Had 
he given me position then, It would simply have created 
jealousy among the old Ministers ; besides, I did not 
feel that I had done anything to warrant such eleva- 
tion. The Emperor was good enough to send me 
two thousand taels as a special reward — a thing, I 
believe, which has never been done In the history of 
the present dynasty.' 

" The Interview concluded with a request on the part 
of Kang to urge the English people to take steps for 
the protection of the relatives of Liang, who had been 
arrested by the officials In the district of Canton. These 
relatives, we understand, consist of his foster-mother, 
aunt, uncle, brother, and his nephew and two others." 

This Interview was on October 7th. It was on 
September 22nd that Kang's six colleagues had been 
summarily beheaded In Peking. Three were members 
of the Hanlln College, the highest body in China — 
namely, Lin Hsio, Yang, and Lin Kuang-tl. One was 
a Censor — Yang. The others w^ere Kang's younger 
brother, and Tan Tze-tung, son of the ex-Governor 


^ Tan's Father Heart-broken 

of Hupeh. It is Tan who went to his death saying, 
" They may kill my body, but my spirit will live in 
the lives of others," and again, "My country will yet 
be freed from the tyrants that now enthral her in their 
grasp of ignorance and corruption." 

A newspaper correspondent wrote from Hupeh : 
'' Nothing but sympathy is felt for poor old Tan, our 
ex-Governor, the father of Tan Tze-tung, who was 
beheaded in Peking. It is said that for a long time the 
news of his son's death was kept from him, and was 
finally told him by our Viceroy, Chang-chih-tung him- 
self, when the latter went on board his ship to bid him 
farewell on his departure from Wuchang." And again, 
a few days later: "Our late Governor, H.E. Tan, is 
reported dead. The native story is that he took the 
execution of his son at Peking and his own degradation 
so much to heart, that he committed suicide on his way 

It is related that none of the victims conducted 
themselves otherwise than as heroes, excepting only 
the Censor, who was so utterly astounded at the fate 
befalling him as to plead with his executioners. He 
had never known Kang, said he had taken part in no 
plot, and wept bitterly as he was hurried through the 
streets. It is related also that all were given decent 
burial with the exception of Kang's own young 
brother, whose body no man dared touch. 

Kang Yii-wei's ancestral home is in the small village 
of Fangchun, right opposite the walls of Canton City, 
and separated from it by the Pearl River. Late on 

593 QQ 

Intimate China ^ 

the night of September 23rd the quiet village was all 
excitement at the sudden disappearance of all the 
members of Kang's clan, leaving no trace of their 
whereabouts. Explanations came, however, the next 
morning, when a force of runners from the district 
magistrate made their appearance in the village, and, 
surrounding the old Kang homestead, began searching 
for the inmates. Only four persons were found in the 
place, consisting of farm-hands, and these were taken 
across the river into the city by the runners for want 
of more important prisoners. 

Kang's uncle, who kept a large grain shop in 
Canton, had a narrow escape from arrest, the warning 
to get away arriving only a few minutes before the 
police made their appearance, while his employes also 
got away in the nick of time. The premises were 
then sealed up, as also was the ancestral hall of the 
Kang clan in their native village of Fangchun. A 
flourishing school established by Kang in the old 
city temple of Canton was also sealed by the local 
authorities, but fortunately for the twenty-odd scholars 
there they received warning and escaped before the 
yamen runners made their appearance. 

Mr. Liang, the editor of Chinese Progress, was 
warned by Kang in time to fly himself, but four of 
his relatives had been captured. It was under the 
agitation of all these events that Kang Yii-wei wrote 
the following letter, which only one Chinese newspaper 
had the courage to publish. Perhaps, considering what 
has followed, it is kinder to suppress its name. 


^ Accusations against the Empress 


** Respected Seniors, — 

" The overpowering calamity which fell from 
Heaven on the fatal 5th day of the 8th moon 
(20th September), bringing such unexpected and fear- 
ful changes over the empire by the usurpation of the 
Imperial power by the antitype of those vile and 
licentious ancient Empresses Lil and Wu, followed by 
the deposition and imprisonment of our true Sovereign, 
causing thereby heaven and earth to change places and 
obliterating the lights of the sun and moon from his 
Majesty's loyal subjects, have, I know, filled with 
universal indignation the hearts of the people. 

" Our youthful Emperor's intelligence and enthusiasm 
made him bend his energies to inaugurate new measures 
of reform for the country, to be put into practice in 
due time one after the other, and all who owed his 
Majesty loyalty and allegiance learning this raised our 
hands to our heads with pleasure and danced with joy. 
The False One [or Usurper] attempted to introduce 
avarice and licentiousness into the Palace, in order to 
tempt our Sovereign to destruction ; but his Majesty 
spurned them with scorn, and these evils were unable 
to defile the Palace atmosphere. Then one or two 
traitors of the Conservative element, finding their objects 
prevented, threw themselves prostrate around the 
Usurper and besought her to resume the reins of power. 
{Note. — Owing to the cashiering of Huai Ta-pu, 
President of the Board of Rites, and his colleagues, 
Huai and Jung Lu were at the bottom of the whole 


Intimate China <«- 

plot.) The False One then, contrary to all rights of 
heaven and earth, seized the reins of power and 
issued a forged edict calling for physicians for his 
Majesty, thereby foreshadowing that the Emperor 
would be poisoned. To-day, therefore, we know not 
whether his Majesty be alive or dead. This indeed 
is that which makes gods and men indignant and feel 
that heaven and earth will never pardon nor allow such 
to triumph long. 

" This Usurper, when she came into power in former 
years, poisoned the Eastern Empress-Consort of Hien 
Feng ; she murdered with poisoned wine the Empress 
of Tung Chih ; and by her acts made the late Emperor 
Hien Feng die of spleen and indignation. And now 
she has dared to depose and imprison our true 
Sovereign. Her crime is great and extreme in its 
wickedness. There has never been a worse deed. 
Although the writer, your humble servant, and Lin, 
Yang, Tan, and Liu [four of the six martyrs] all received 
his Majesty's commands in his last extremity, we, alas 1 
have not the power and strength of Hsti Chin-yi [who 
restored the Emperor Tsung-chung to the throne after 
deposing the Empress Wu Tseh-tien of the T'ang 
Dynasty], but can only emulate the example of Shen 
Pao-sii in weeping. [This was a minister of Ts'u 
(Hunan), who over two thousand years ago went weep- 
ing to beseech the powerful King of Chin (Shensi) to 
avenge the deposition of his master the King of Ts'u, 
and by his importunity succeeded in carrying his point.] 

**I, therefore, now send you copies of his Majesty's 


^ Asking Help for the Emperor 


L- --^ysjb 

Bv Mrs. Archibald Li Ilk. 

two secret edicts to me, and crave your assistance in 
publishing them to the whole world either in the 
Chinese or foreign newspapers. This will, I earnestly 
trust, bring strong arms to our Sovereign's rescue. His 


Intimate China ^^ 

Majesty has always accepted the fiat of his ancestors 
in recognising the mother who bore him as his own 
mother, and not an Imperial concubine as his mother. 
The False One in relation to the Emperor Tung Chih 
was the latter's mother ; but as regards his Majesty 
Kwang-shii, our Sovereign, she is but a former 
Emperor's concubine-relict [Hien Feng's]. /Vccording 
to the tenets of the Spring and Aiittn^m Records (written 
by Confucius), although Queen Wen Chiang w^as the 
mother of King Chuang of Lu, yet that did not 
save her from being imprisoned by her own son on 
account of her licentious conduct ; much more in the 
present case, then, should punishment be administered 
to one who was but merely a Palace concubine. What 
right had this woman to depose our bright and saga- 
cious Emperor ? If this could be clearly set forth in 
the Chinese and foreign newspapers and be published 
to the world, I verily believe that from Peking to 
Yunnan and the sixteen ancient divisions of China 
some hero must surely arise to avenge our Sovereign. 
With my humble compliments, 

'' (Signed) Kang Yu-wei." 

It is hardly necessary to comment upon the extreme 
pathos of the letters of this young man of twenty- 
seven, for twenty-three years nominal Emperor of 
China, but now, at the first attempt to take the power 
into his own hands, summarily deposed. It is believed 
that it was his attempt to summon soldiery to his aid 
that led to the Empress's coup ddtat. Some say the 


-^ The Reformers and their Punishments 

Reform party were advising that the Empress-Dowager 
should be asked to retire to a palace in the country. 

'' The following is the list of the proposed ' Council 
of Ten ' who were to have assembled daily in the 
Maoching Throne-hall to advise the Emperor on reform 
measures, as given by the Sinwhipao : 

''I. Li Tuan-fen (President of the Board of Rites 
to be President of the Council). 

*' 2. Hstl Chih-ching (Senior Reader of the Hanlin 
Academy, and at the time of his disgrace acting Vice- 
President of the Board of Rites). 

*' 3. Kang Yii-wei (Junior Secretary of the Board of 
Works and a Secretary of the Tsung-li Yamen). 

'' 4. Yang Shen-hsiu (Censor of the Klangnan 

" 5. Sung Peh-lu (Censor of the Shantung Circuit). 

" 6. Hstl Jen-chu (Literary Chancellor of Hunan). 

" 7. Chang Yuan-chI (Hanlin Compiler). 

''8. Liang Chi-chao (M.A., ex-editor of Chinese 

"9. Kang Kuang-jen (M.A., and younger brother of 
Kang Yii-wei). 

" 10. Hstl Jen-ching (Hanlin Bachelor, son of Hstl 
Chih-ching and brother of Hsu Jen-chu). 

'' With reference to the punishments meted out to 
the above-noted ten: (i) LI Tuan-fen was cashiered 
and banished to Kashgaria for ever; (2) Hstl Chih- 
ching, imprisoned in the dungeons of the Board of 
Punishments for life; (3) Kang Yii-wei, proscribed 
and ordered to be sliced to pieces at moment of capture ; 


Intimate China ^ 

his family to suffer death, together with his uncles, 
aunts, and cousins, and their ancestral graves to be 
razed ; (4) Yang Shen-hsiu, one of the Martyred Six ; 
(5) Sung Peh-lu, disappeared the day he was cashiered 
and dismissed for ever — September 23rd — but Is reported 
to have been captured afterwards while travelling 
overland for the South ; (6) Hsu Jen-chu, cashiered 
and dismissed for ever; (7) Chang Yuan-chI, a man of 
great wealth, also cashiered and dismissed for ever ; 
(8) Liang Chl-chao, proscribed and now a refugee In 
Japan ; (9) Kang Kuang-jen, one of the Martyred 
Six ; and (10) Hsli Jen-ching, also cashiered and dis- 
missed for ever. As for LI and Hsli, the first and 
second of the list given above, their place would also 
have been by the side of the Martyred Six on the fatal 
evening of the 28th ultimo, had they not been aged 
men, high In rank. 

"It Is reported from reliable sources at Peking 
that on the day of the Empress-Dowager's coup ddtat 
(September 22nd) no less than fourteen eunuchs who 
were the Emperor's own personal attendants, and on 
whose devotion he was In the habit of relying, were 
ordered to execution by the Empress-Dowager. The 
reason given why this sanguinary deed has not become 
widely known is that the executions took place in the 
courtyard of the chief eunuch's office. Inside the Palace 
grounds, where refractory and rebellious eunuchs are 
always attended to, unknown to the outside world." 

It Is not surprising that, according to the Peking 
correspondent of the 5^/^w;f/<3;^, in October, 1898, a 


^ Emperor's Attempt at Escape 

great fear of some impending disaster seemed to have 
fallen over the capital, and numbers of houses had the 
words ''Speak not of State Affairs'' written on slips of 
red paper posted over the lintels of each household ; 
the idea being that something must have very recently 
happened in the Palace at Eho Park, which the powers 
that be desired to keep secret from the world for the 
time being. 

The railway had been crowded the past week with 
officials from the provinces returning to their homes. 
They were afraid to remain where every word they 
uttered was liable to be considered treason. When they 
reached their homes, we may expect their reports to 
their friends and adherents would not increase their 
loyalty to the Manchu Dynasty. 

And yet, in spite of all this, people are surprised 
that the young man of twenty-seven, without funds, 
without an army, did not assert himself more. The 
silence of Kwang-shii is perhaps the noblest action of 
a much-enduring life. 

There was a pathetic story current in Peking that 
he contrived once to escape from his prison in the 
island at the Southern Lakes, Eho Park, where he 
had been confined by the Empress-Dowager since the 
coup cTdtat ; but that when he got to the Park gates, 
the Imperial guards, all creatures of the Empress- 
Dowager, shut the great gates in his face. A crowd 
of eunuchs, who dared not offer his person any violence 
or attempt to use force in preventing his walking to 
the Park gates, followed him in a body, and upon the 


Intimate China ^ 

gates being closed they all knelt in front of the Emperor 
beseeching him with tears to have mercy on them and 
not attempt to escape, for it would mean the death 
of all of them as well as of the guardsmen at the 
gates were he to do so. The guardsmen also Motowed 
and joined in the general prayer, w^hile on the other 
hand they sent one of their number to apprise the 
Empress- Dowager of the matter. The Emperor finally 
took pity on his suppliant subjects, and quietly returned 
to his prison. 

To Europeans this may seem too strange to be 
true ; to those who know China it is so Chinese as to 
seem probable. That an Emperor should be moved 
by the tears of his subjects is what Chinese would 

It must be remembered that Kang escaped through 
the intervention of British Consuls, by the protection 
of a British man-of-war, and was lodged for safety 
in the gaol at Hongkong at first. Thence he pro- 
ceeded to Japan, where other Chinese reformers had 
preceded him, under Japanese protection. The North 
China Hei^ald of October 3rd, 1898, publishes the 
following tribute of gratitude from the fellow-provincials 
of Kang Yii-wei to the Consuls, Admiral, and 
people of the "Great Empire of Great Britain," for 
saving Kang from the clutches of the opponents of 
reform, purporting to represent the sentiments of 
the Shanghai Cantonese : — The contents of the post 
envelope were (i) a red card with the words, '' Pre- 
sented with bowed heads by the people of Kwangtung 


■^ Cantonese Gratitude to Great Britain 

(Canton) Province"; (2) another red card bearing the 
words, " The people of Kwangtung Province reveren- 
tially beg to present their united thanks to the people 
of the great, unequalled Empire of Great Britain for 
this proof of loyalty, kindness, majesty, courage, and 
love of strict justice " ; and (3) a sheet of letter paper 
containing the words, " We, the people of Kwangtung 
Province, crave permission to express our deep gratitude 
to their Excellencies the Consuls and the Admiral of 
the Great Empire of Great Britain for their great 
kindness to us. 

'' Reverentially presented by the people of Kwang- 
tung Province. 

'' We further beg the editor of the North China 
Daily News to give publicity to the above in its 
valuable columns, and hope personally to give thanks 

Since then, on October 31st, 1898, the following 
memorial was presented to the British Consul-General, 
Mr. Brenan. He could not, as an official, receive it, 
but the pathetic document cannot but be read with 

"" Sir, — The avarice and extortions of the mandarins 
of China and their underlings were the cause of the 
Emperor's estrangement from his people ; and it was 
this estrangement that has led to his present weakness 
and their distress. 

" Recognising the need for reform, the Emperor in 
his wisdom and good judgment began, during the 
fifth moon of the present year, to issue edicts, having 


Intimate China "^ 

for their object the complete renovation of the Empire 
The main subjects dealt with were as follows : 

'' I. The substitution of men of modern ideas and 
learning for old and useless officials. 

" 2. The establishment of colleges and technical 
schools for the advancement of scientific knowledge, 
after the most approved methods of Western nations. 

" 3. Conferring the right to memorialise the Throne 
direct upon all officials throughout the empire, without 
distinction of rank. 

"4. The abrogation of the classical essay system of 
examinations for degrees and offices. 

" The above edicts caused much rejoicing among 
the people, who recognised In them a great power for 
the immediate uplifting of the empire, and its future 

"We, your memorialists, are firmly convinced that 
if the reforms embodied in the Imperial Edicts could' 
have been put into operation for twenty or thirty years, 
great and beneficial changes would have been brought 
about, which would have resulted in the entire change 
of the customs of the land, and establishment of better 
relations with the West. Thus we could have looked 
forward confidently to the Inauguration of an era of 
universal peace. 

'* But now, through the machinations of evil men 
and the short-sighted policy of the Empress- Dowager,, 
our Emperor has been Imprisoned, the lives of many 
faithful officers have been ruthlessly taken, and all the 
Imperial Edicts calling for reform have been revoked.. 




Memorial to the British Consul-General 

All educational societies have been interdicted, and the 
native newspapers have been suppressed. Moreover, 
the lives of all those favourable to reform are in the 
gravest danger. 

*' We, your memorialists, being loyal Chinese sub- 
jects, regard with great indignation such unwarrantable 
action on the part of the Empress-Dowager ; but we 
have no power to rectify this unhappy state of affairs. 

'* Therefore we pray you, sir, according to that 
equity which is recognised among all nations, to pity 
China in her distress, by sending a cablegram to the 
Government, urging your people to assist us by restoring 
the Emperor to his rightful throne, and by filling the 
offices of State with faithful and enlightened men. 

'* Thus will the renovation of China be due to the 
favour of your Sovereign Ruler, and to you, sir, who 
forwarded the memorial. 

'' P.S. — Chinese officialdom is at present divided 
into two classes, the old and new — Conservatives and 
■Reformers. The former have placed their reliance 
on Russia to help them, in return for which Russia 
will gain enlarged territory. The Reformers look to 
Great Britain and the United States for help, knowing 
that the policy of these two nations is to keep the 
Chinese Empire intact. Should the reactionists triumph 
in their present schemes, there is no power that will 
prevent the division of China among all the nations of 
the earth. The Reformers have no power. They can 
only weep at their country's distress, while they present 
this memorial asking for your honourable country's 


Intimate China ^ 

assistance. The first thing to be done is to liberate the 
Emperor and to restore him to power, and to remove 
the Empress- Dowager. A proclamation from the 
Emperor calling his people to his protection would 
be loyally responded to by all his faithful subjects 
throughout the land. 

" A joint memorial from the scholars — literati — of 

" 24tli Year of H.M. Kvvang-shii, 

"9th moon, 17th day. 
"(October 31st, 

An attempt has been made to show that the Reform 
party, with the young Emperor Kwang-shii at their 
head, brought on themselves all that has happened by 
urging foolish reforms, and moving too fast. A slight 
summary of the Emperor's decrees will show that all 
he had done was for China's good. 

June i2itk, 1898. — The Emperor issued a decree 
commanding the establishment of a University at Peking, 
and also ordered Kang Yii-wei to appear at a special 

June i^th. — He dismissed his tutor, Weng Tung-ho, 
and announced his intention of sending some of the 
Imperial Clansmen and Princes to travel abroad and 

June 20th. — He ordered the Tsung-li Yamen to 
report on the necessity of encouraging art, science, and 
modern agriculture. It was ordered that the construc- 
tion of the Lu-han railway should be expedited. 


^. Attempted Reforms 

June i-^rd. — -The classical essays were abolished as 
a necessary part of examinations. 

June 2']th.- — The Ministers and Princes were ordered 
to report on the proposal to adopt Western arms and 
drill for all the Tartar troops. 

July ^tk. — The establishment of agricultural schools 
in the provinces to teach the farmers improved methods 
of agriculture was commanded ; and on the same day 
the liberal-minded Sun Chia-nai was appointed President 
of the Peking University. 

July ^tJi. — The Emperor ordered the introduction 
of patent and copyright laws. 

July 6th. — The Board of War and the Tsung-li 
Yamen were ordered to report on the proposed reform 
of military examinations. 

Jtdy ^tli. — Special rewards were promised to 
inventors and authors. 

July \/^tIi. — Officials were ordered to do all in their 
power to encourage trade and assist merchants. 

July 29M. — On the recommendation of Li Tuan-fen, 
since banished to Kashgaria by the Empress Tze Hsi, 
the establishment of educational boards was ordered in 
every city throughout the empire. 

Augicst 2nd. — The Bureau of Mines and Railways 
was established. 

August ()tk. — Journalists were encouraged to write on 
political subjects for the enlightenment of the authorities. 

August loth. — Jung Lu and Lin Kun-yi were 
directed to consult on the establishment of naval 
academies and training-ships. 

609 K K 

Intimate China ^ 

August 22nd. — It was ordered that schools should 
be established in connection with Chinese Legations 
abroad, for the benefit of the sons of Chinese settled in 
foreign countries. 

August 2\th. — Ministers and Provincial Authorities 
were urged to assist the Emperor in his work of reform. 

August 2%th. — The Viceroys Lin Kun-yi and Chang- 
chih-tung were ordered to establish commercial bureaux 
for the encouragement of trade in Shanghai and 

September ist. — Six minor and useless boards in 
Peking were abolished. 

September "jtk. — Li Hung-chang and Ching Hsin 
were dismissed from the Tsung-li Yamen, and the issue 
of chao-hsin bonds was stopped, because the provincial 
authorities had used them to squeeze the people. 

September "itli. — The governorships of Hupeh, 
Kwangtung, and Yunnan were abolished as a useless 

Septeinber iitk. — The establishment of schools of 
instruction in the preparation of tea and silk was 

September \2th. — The Tsung-li Yamen and Board 
of War were ordered to report on the suggestion that 
the Imperial Courier posts should be abolished in favour 
of the Imperial Customs post ; and the establishment 
of newspapers was encouraged. 

September i^^tk. — The general right to memorialise 
the Throne by closed memorials was granted ; and on 
the same date Manchus who had no taste for civil 


-9^ Raising up Enemies 

or military office were allowed to take up trades or 

September \/^th. — The two Presidents and four Vice- 
Presidents of the Board of Rites were dismissed for 
disobeying the Emperor's order that memorials should 
be sent to him unopened, whatever their source. 

September i^tk. — The system of budgets as in 
Western countries was approved. 

It will be at once evident that the Emperor and his 
party had raised up many powerful enemies, and should 
— had they been wise — have secured the assistance 
of the army In the first instance. It was when they 
attempted to secure troops that the end came. It is 
also evident that several of the reforms were what 
every one would agree are absolutely necessary for 
China ; and although they may have made too many 
at once, the exact rate at which reforms can be success- 
fully carried has never been calculated. Nor Is there 
any evidence even yet that they were going too fast 
for the country. They would always have moved 
too fast for the officials whose offices they abolished. 
At the same time there Is a certain sort of doctrinaire 
flavour about this multiplicity of schools started at 
once, and encouragement given to newspaper writers. 

Since then the Empress-Dowager has In her own 
name gone rather further In the opposite direction — and 
raised up a yet larger number of enemies — forbidding the 
establishment of societies of any sort, and ordering the 
officials to arrest the members and punish them accord- 
ing to their responsibilities. The chiefs are to be 


Intimate China ^ 

executed summarily, and the less responsible banished 
Into perpetual exile. This affects the Patriotic Associa- 
tion, as also the new societies that were formed for 
the engaging of teachers and purchase of scientific 
books after the Emperor's decree doing away w^Ith 
the five-chapter essay, and ordering that mathematics 
should be an essential subject In examination. The 
Empress has also suppressed all newspapers, and sum- 
marily sentenced their editors to death. She has 
also ordered that no further steps should be taken 
to drill or arm the soldiery according to Western 
methods, but that they should revert to bows and 
arrows, and to the contests In running and lifting heavy 
weights of ancient usage. The Emperor had signified 
his Intention of presiding at the next military examina- 
tions, which were to have been in target-shooting 
with modern weapons of precision. The Empress has 
now announced that, Instead of this, not even the 
candidates need present themselves at Court. And all 
the promising schemes for opening lower and middle 
schools of Western learning are nipped In the bud — 
those for girls, as before mentioned. In Shanghai, having 
for safety been put under foreign management. 

The most powerful man In China for the moment 
seems to be Jung Lu, a Manchu who has spent 
most of his life in military offices at Peking, but was 
at one time general In Shensi, and as Viceroy of 
Chlhll — the office so long held by LI Hung-chang — 
was much liked by foreigners at Tientsin. He Is 
reported, however, not to have slept for two nights 


^ The Empress's Supporters 

with anxiety as to what the British fleet was doing at 
Pehtaiho just before the coztp d'dtat ; and if that is the 
case, he is not a man of that iron stuff that his mistress 
will long be able to lean upon. The real power behind 
the Throne, according to Kang, is a sham eunuch, 
Li Luen-yen, the man whom every one who wants 
an audience has for years past had to bribe heavily. 
Li Hung-chang, the Empress's firm adherent during 
all her long tenure of power, is beginning to be known 
in England. Of Sheng, once his creature, but who 
managed during Li's absence in Europe to attain such 
lucrative posts as to look down upon his former patron, 
the following story is told. His health never being 
very good, Sheng had been accustomed to get leave 
of absence from Tientsin In winter, and go to enjoy 
himself in his native city of Soochow, the Paris of 
China, and with also a much softer climate. During 
the Japanese War It was felt impossible to give a 
man in such high place leave of absence. But he 
was dispensed from regular official work, and allowed 
therefore to close the public offices under his control. 
This was done, and they were reopened by him as 
gambling-houses, where every man of business In 
Tientsin must lose his money if he hoped to put 
through a job or a contract under the corrupt admini- 
stration of Sheng. It may be remembered the British 
Government demanded the latter's head a few years ago ; 
but, as in the case of Chou Han, who disseminated the 
vile anti-Christian publications from Hunan, their demands 
were put off by being told he was either not to be 


Intimate China ^ 

found, or mad, or something or other. It is men 
Hke this that must corrupt any nation in which they 
hold high power. It is men Hke this who are always 
ready to receive high bribes from foreign powers. The 
countries that wish to see China decadent, feeble, torn bv 
internal divisions, and under their control, have a direct 
interest in supporting the late Dowager, now usurping 
Empress, Tze Hsi, and the men who rally round her. 
But those who do not wish to appropriate Chinese 
territory, but rather that both the Chinese and them- 
selves should enjoy tranquillity, so as to develop each 
their own territories to their highest capacity, must 
wish to see in power men like Chang-chih-tung, the 
one Viceroy never even accused of peculation, and who 
never visits Peking, and other men of high aims and 
upright conduct — making mistakes possibly, but at least 
trying their best to elevate and guide the most peace- 
loving and law-abiding people that ever existed. The 
Chinese may, as Lord Wolseley has predicted, make 
good soldiers some day. But from time immemorial 
they have despised war. And as in our men-of-war I 
have heard that in battles in old days mattresses would 
be hung over the ships' sides to protect them, so we 
might do worse than interpose between fiery, mysterious 
India and the other nations of Asia the impenetrable, 
apparently yielding, but never really yielding, big 
feather-bed of vigorous, healthy China, relieved from 
her corrupt and disastrous Mandarin system, with her 
men's minds freed from the cramping influence of a too 
ancient system of education, and her women set upon 


-^ Our Policy in China 

their feet so as to be once more able to bear noble 
sons. With all the nations of the West contending 
who is to have its bones to pick, it is necessary that 
some nation or nations should in the first instance stand 
by China. But once let some great Western nation 
make it plain to the world that he who attacks China 
attacks her, and there will be no attack. And let 
China's feet but once be set firmly in the ways of 
progress, and there will be no going back. 

I conclude with the words of the man whom I be- 
lieve to be the wisest statesman of the day, although to 
my mind he too often lacks the decision to act in accord- 
ance with his own judgment. Lord Salisbury in June, 
1898, said : " If I am asked what our policy in China is, 
my answer is very simple. It is to maintain the Chinese 
Empire, to prevent it from falling into ruins, to invite 
it into paths of reform, and to give it every assistance 
which we are able to give it, to perfect its defence or 
to increase its commercial prosperity. By so doing we 
shall be aiding its cause and our own." Excepting 
through the Victoria College, years ago established in 
Hongkong, where and when, may I ask, has the British 
Government acted on this policy laid down by the Prime 
Minister with the strongest following of any Minister 
of modern times ? 

Pritikd by Hazelly IValsun, <^^ Vincv, Lei., London and Aylesbury. 

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of Tokyo. 4to, with a specially designed cover in colour, 2s. 6d. net. 

The work has been produced throughout in Japan, and five hundred copies only 
of the book have been printed, of which number but a few remain. 


A Chinese Legend told in English. 

• Printed in Japan on Japanese crepe. Illustrated in colour. Third 
Edition. is. 6d. 

GAY & BIRD, 22, Bedford Street, Strand, London, W.C. 


Trade and Travel in Western China* 


Third Edition, Illustrated. 8vo, 6s. 

THE RAT'S PLAINT. An Old Legend. 

Translated from the Original Chinese by Archibald J. Littlp:, F.R.G.S. 
Printed in Japan on Japanese crepe paper. Richly illustrated in colour 
Second Edition. 5^^. 

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, & Co., St. Dunstan's House, 
Fetter Lane, London, E.G. 


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